Shocked Surfside community on edge as crews search for 159 unaccounted for in building collapse wreckage

Florida

SURFSIDE, Fla. (WFLA) — As the rescue effort continues at the site of a deadly partial building collapse in South Florida, there is great anxiety in the surrounding community.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue reported Friday that 159 people are unaccounted for and four people are dead as the result of Thursday morning’s catastrophic condominium building collapse in Surfside.

Jack Acker lives in a building next door to the one that failed around 1:30 a.m. Thursday. He says he woke up to the barking of his dog overnight.

“All of a sudden it was emergency vehicles coming in like crazy,” he said.

With daylight, he was able to see the destruction and worried about a friend who lives in the building that collapsed.

“I have a friend that lives in that building on the 9th floor and I looked over at his apartment and it was gone,” Acker said. “Just didn’t exist anymore. And I called him and he had taken a vacation and gone to Colorado.”

In front of the building, behind the lines established by first responders, some people have come to pray. Reginald Wilkerson is a pastor who travels the south during times of disaster to help when and where he can.

“I’ve just left Newnan, Georgia during the tornadoes,” he said. “I’ve been to hurricane disasters all over.”

At each location, he says, there are common elements.

“Pain, you see a lot of pain. Because – how about when you can’t do anything? It’s just like they are looking for people, how about when you can’t do anything and pain is something you can’t pick it up, you can’t put it down,” said Wilkerson.

The pastor says he will continue to offer a listening ear and prayer to anyone who needs it.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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