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Time Is Brief in Seek for Survivors of Florida Rental Collapse – CBS San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) – Rescuers in Surfside, Florida worked all night to find dozens of people who were still missing without warning after a residential complex collapsed early Thursday morning.

“As the sun sets on the most tragic day this community can remember, we’re working around the clock to find and rescue people in this rubble,” said Miami Dade Mayor Daniella Levine-Cava.

Rescuers fought the clock to find survivors of the 12-story beachfront apartment that collapsed around 1:30 a.m.

Former Miami-Dade Fire Department chief Dave Downey said first responders used dogs, cameras that fit small rooms, and listening devices to help with their search.

At least 99 people were missing by Thursday evening. One person was reported dead and at least 11 were injured.

Harold Schapelhouman, chief of the Menlo Park fire protection district, knows the rescuers in Florida all too well. He is the chief of operations for a California search and rescue team and was involved in the search for victims of the Loma Prieta earthquake and the Oklahoma City terrorist attack.

“(In) the first 24 hours you have a 90 percent chance of recovering, those who can be saved, who will survive,” explained Schapelhouman. “On the second day, based on what happens to the human body after it has been pinned in a certain area for a period of time, you see 36 percent. Day three: 30 percent. Day four: 18 percent. Day five: nine (percent). “

He said there was a balance between working quickly and safely.

“You have to be very careful with a building, of which you know that two thirds have already collapsed, one third is still standing,” said Schapelhouman. “But you know, is it about to collapse?”

“We’re shoring up the structure inside as we move forward to locate more survivors,” said Ray Jadallah, Miami-Dad Rescue chief fire officer.

It is not known why the 40-year-old building collapsed, but researchers at Florida International University found that it had fallen at a rate of two millimeters per year for the past three decades. It was built on reclaimed wetlands.

“That’s pretty small, but it was noticeable because the rest of the area was pretty stable,” said Shimon Wdowinski, who was involved in the study. “It’s not clear whether the land or the building was moved.”

The building was in the process of receiving its 40 year electrical and structural safety recertification.

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