Surfside, Florida mayor on building collapse: A tragedy beyond any of our imaginations’


Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said on Thursday that the “worst has yet to come” after the devastating collapse of the Champlain Towers in South Florida.

“We got the call at about 2:00 this morning and we came out and we’ve got a modern building that just collapsed. A large modern building, 12 stories, 130-unit condominium on the ocean just collapsed, it looks like there was an earthquake, it’s inexplicable and we are all scratching our heads trying to figure out what the problem is,” Burkett told Harris Faulkner on “Outnumbered.”

“We’ve got a tragedy here that’s beyond any of our imagination. We’ve got 15 families out this morning in the middle of the night, we’ve got a third or more of the building that collapsed like a pancake that I don’t even want to think about what we’d find in that area.”

Furthermore, Burkett said that families who lived on the upper floors were able to “walk out on their own.” 


“Apparently they couldn’t get out to the lobby because it was blocked but they were able to get out. I believe on the second floor, the pool deck, ten people were treated and two were sent to the hospital, unfortunately, one passed away. And then I think a little bit later on and I didn’t see that but we had that little boy that was found. Which was a little bit of good news.”


Dozens of rescuers in South Florida are searching for survivors Thursday after an apartment building partially collapsed, killing at least one person, police confirmed.

Authorities told reporters that they have rescued 35 people from the building so far, with two people rescued from the rubble itself. 

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Sally Heyman told Fox News that about 51 people remain unaccounted for.

“Over 80 MDFR units including #TRT (Technical Rescue Teams) are on scene with assistance from municipal fire departments,” Miami Dade Fire Rescue said in a tweet.

Firefighters pulled at least one boy from the debris, according to photos online. A reporter from CBS Miami said at at least nine people were transported to the hospital.

Officials received offers of support from Sens. Rick Scott and Marco Rubio, as well as Gov. Ron DeSantis, to provide anything needed for the search-and-rescue operation, which may take up to a week.

The building address is 8777 Collins Avenue, according to Surfside police. The sea-view condo development was built in 1981 in the southeast corner of Surfside, on the beach. It had a few two-bedroom units currently on the market, with asking prices of $600,000 to $700,000, police said.

One witness who was on vacation in the city with his family told Fox News he was next door when it suddenly sounded like a tornado or earthquake. 


Burkett was astounded by the “heroism” and abundance of response they had from Dade County and other municipalities surrounding Surfside. The first responders set up a command center for “experts, dogs, and engineers.”

“There is no shortage of people here to help,” Burkett said. 

Unfortunately, the “worst is yet to come,” Burkett added.

“There’s been some amazing heroism here in Surfside. But you know, that doesn’t diminish the fact that we are suffering very badly, I mean, the worst is yet to come, I fear, because we’ve got at least half the building back there that is pancake, it’s collapsed onto itself, and you’ve got balconies that were once 10 or 12 feet apart that are now 2 feet apart on top of each other and you can imagine what that means.”