Heartbreaking images capture the Surfside building collapse and rescue efforts - USA TODAY

Images capture the extensive destruction Thursday from the partially-collapsed 12-story condominium in Surfside, Florida.

Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett confirmed that at least one person had died. 

"The building is literally pancaked," Burkett said. "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."  

Piles of rubble and debris surrounded the area just outside the building, and cars up to two blocks away were coated with with a light layer of dust from the debris.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue teams scrambled to find residents who may have been trapped under the rubble of the condominium. The American Red Cross set up a reunification site for family and friends near the site of the partial building collapse.

'I have no hope': Loved ones await news, survivors flee after condo building partially collapses near Miami

Burkett warned that the death toll was likely to rise, saying the building manager told him the tower was full at the time of the collapse around 1:30 a.m., but the exact number of people present was unclear.  

About half of the building's roughly 130 units were affected, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said at a news conference.

Rescuers pulled at least 35 people from the wreckage by mid-morning, and heavy equipment was being brought in to help stabilize the structure to give them more access, Raide Jadallah of Miami-Dade Fire and Rescue said.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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