The building's fire alarms went off, and she and her family went outside and saw the collapse.
"MBPD and @MiamiBeachFire are assisting the Town of Surfside at a partial building collapse located at 8777 Collins Avenue in Surfside, Florida".
Burkett said that the city and the Red Cross are looking into housing options for those displaced from the building. "That is heartbreaking because it doesn't mean to me that we are going to be as successful as we wanted to be in finding people alive". Two of them were then transported to a local hospital, where one died, according to Burkett.
Santo Mejil, 50, was woken when his wife called from a unit on the ninth floor of one of the three buildings that make up Champlain Towers.
"I couldn't walk out past my doorway", said Cohen, the former vice mayor of Surfside.
"Basically we heard a really big rumble and we thought it was a motorcycle, you know, and we turned around and saw a cloud of dust just coming our way", he told CBS Miami. "It felt like an natural disaster". He said she later called him and said rescuers were bringing her down.
Firefighters stand by after the collapse.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue said it had sent 80 vehicles to the scene.
"We're on the scene so it's still very active", said Sgt.
People in neighboring buildings have been evacuated to a nearby recreational center, another witness told ABC News.
A search and rescue mission is underway in Surfside to find any survivors that might be trapped in the rubble of the collapsed building.
Work is being done on the building's roof, but Burkett said he did not see how that could have caused the collapse.
Household items and debris dangle from a partially collapsed multistory beachfront condo, Thursday, June 24, 2021, in Surfside, Fla. Teams of firefighters walked through the rubble, picking up survivors and carrying them from the wreckage. Television footage showed bunk beds, tables and chairs still left inside the damaged flats.
The Miami-Dade Police have assumed control of the investigation as to why the building collapsed. The paper notes that about half the tower appears to have been affected. "Buildings just don't fall down". The Miami-Dade Police Department said it is investigating the incident.
The sea-view condominium development was built in 1981 in the southeast corner of Surfside, on the beach. It had a few two-bedroom units now on the market, with asking prices of $600,000 to $700,000 US.