UPDATE: DEATH AND MISSING TOTALS CLIMB IN SURFSIDE CONDO COLLAPSE

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, in a press conference just before 7:45 a.m. Friday, confirmed the death total has risen to four.  “Unfortunately, this has been a tragic night.  We do have 120 people now accounted for, which is very good news.  But our unaccounted-for number has gone up to 159,” Cava announced.

Mayor Cava also added, “I want to be very clear about the numbers.  They are very fluid.  We’ll continue to update you as we have them.”

A massive search and rescue operation has been underway since the partial collapse early Thursday morning of the Champlain Towers South Condo in Surfside, Florida.  About 55 of the 136 units were affected when the building collapsed according to Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Raide Jadallah. 

State Chef Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, who also serves as the state fire marshal, told CNN, the rescue mission would continue with teams from Naples and Orland coming to relieve the Miami -Dade responders, who have been combing through the rubble for more than 24 house straight.

President Joe Biden signed an emergency declaration for Florida after the collapse, allowing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate disaster relief.  Fifteen people from FEMA are set to arrive later Friday, spokesman Kevin Guthrie of FEMA told the Friday press conference.

Authorities have opened a family assistance center at the Surfside recreational center for individuals unable to locate loved ones who live in the Champlain Towers South.  Anyone with family members from the condominium who are either safe or still missing is urged to call 305-614-1819 to account for them.

This an ongoing event and will be updated when deemed necessary and appropriate.     

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