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New Lawsuit Filed by Surviving Residents Claims "Reckless and Negligent Conduct"; At Least 11 Dead, 150 Missing as Search Efforts Enter Day 6; Gas Stations Running Out of Fuel Ahead of Holiday Weekend; Mayor Gabriel Groisman (R-Bal Harbour, FL) Discusses Condo Collapse, Search-and-Rescue Efforts in Surfside, FL; Biden Speaks on Infrastructure Plan in Wisconsin. Aired 1:30-2p ET
Aired June 29, 2021 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Today, surviving residents in Surfside, Florida, are filing a new class-action lawsuit.
The group seeking accountability against what they call their association's -- and I'm quoting now -- "reckless and negligent conduct" in the wake of last week's horrific collapse.
CNN's Nick Valencia is at the Family Reunification Center in Surfside.
Nick, how are families reacting to last hour's update from the authorities when they disclosed that no new victims have been found? And 150 people still are unaccounted for?
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, some telling me altogether they've stopped watching the briefings because they say they're not expecting to hear much new information.
Those who have come to grips with accepting whether or not officials them tell them or not, they've pivoted toward the accountability.
That's why we're starting to see the lawsuits come forward. And it would not be surprising to see more in the coming days.
These family and friends being counted are looking for closure. And short of that information, they don't want to hear anything else.
One family, who has gotten a closure, is Sergio Lozano's family. He said he could see the view of his parent's apartment from the view of his own.
It did give him a little bit of closure that he knows the bodies of his parents were found together under the debris.
But as you'll hear, the emotion is still very raw. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SERGIO LOZANO, PARENTS DIED IN CONDO COLLAPSE IN SURFSIDE, FL: I could see my mom cooking from my apartment one night would fall. Their kitchen where my dad would sit and watch TV. It wasn't there. It's just like -- I don't know.
UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: As the search continued, did you have any hope that they would be found alive?
LOZANO: I didn't. I was just praying to God they went quick and were together. I was told they were in bed together. That's the end of a romantic story. They were together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VALENCIA: What is the reality here is a very sad one, a very heavy and a very somber one.
We came Thursday. There was so much hope the family members would see a miracle, much like the young teenage boy pulled from the ruble hours after the collapse.
The families, over the weekend, had their hopes very high, thinking a miracle might happen to them as well.
As we enter day six of this search and rescue, the hopes and hopes of a miracle, I should say, are dimming fast -- Wolf?
BLITZER: They are.
And, Nick Valencia, thank you very, very much.
Let's discuss this heartbreaking situation with Pascale Bonnefoy, a journalist. Her father and his wife lived in the collapsed building. They are listed as missing.
Pascale, thank you so much for joining us. Our hearts go out to you.
You were in Chile. You came over as soon as you heard what was happening.
What's the latest you're hearing.
PASCALE BONNEFOY, PARENTS MISSING IN SURFSIDE CONDO COLLAPSE: The latest can what you're hearing. There are no more bodies found or human remains.
But I'm not really frustrated with the search-and-rescue mission. I know they're doing everything they need to do.
They know what they're doing. They have the best rescue teams on site 24 hours a day.
We don't have much information about the actual work, what they call the pile. They don't call it a building or collapsed building. It's a pile now.
It's really difficult work. I've seen what the building looks like. It's hard. They're picking out from the rubble.
BLITZER: Tell us a little bit about your father, Claudia (ph), and his wife, Maria.
BONNEFOY: Well, my dad retired as a lawyer. Been a national lawyer. He came to the states in 1972. We all did, with the family.
He retired, and later married Maria, who is a Filipino. She retired from international organizations and moved to Miami about 15 years ago from Washington D.C., to live off retirement and kind of travel the world.
That's why I've been saying that. If it weren't for the pandemic, they probably would have been traveling somewhere.
BLITZER: Your dad is 85 years old.
BONNEFOY: He's 85.
BLITZER: And how long has he lived here?
BONNEFOY: About 15 years.
BLITZER: In the same building?
BLITZER: And you visited many occasions?
BONNEFOY: Several times.
BLITZER: When you walked around the building, did you have any concerns about the structure?
BONNEFOY: You wouldn't think. I know they were concerned that there were cracks in the parking lot and the columns. We saw them. The parking lot was often wet. There was often water there. I think they mentioned problems around the pool with the deck.
But it's not something that the building is about to collapse. These are, like, repairs that needed to be done.
I think there was a lot of problem with the board. They never agreed on spending to do structural repairs because it was expensive. And they kind of just dragged on for a while.
But I mean, you wouldn't think that a building was decaying or corroding from underneath.
BLITZER: When was the last time you spoke to your father?
BONNEFOY: The Sunday before on Father's Day. We had a Zoom meeting with his daughters. We have three sisters in Chili and one in China.
BLITZER: So it's a real international community. People from all over.
And everything was great when you spoke to him on Father's Day?
BONNEFOY: It was great.
BLITZER: And how did you get word this building collapsed?
BONNEFOY: It was funny -- not funny -- but my -- one of my sisters sent him a what's up, saying, hey, we heard about this building. It looks like the building next to yours. And so we never got an answer.
And a little while later, one of Maria's sisters called me and told me it was their building.
Then, it was just two days of in shock trying to prepare things to travel here as soon as possible with one of my sisters.
BLITZER: You immediately left and got here?
BONNEFOY: We had to prepare a lot of stuff. The following day.
BLITZER: You still have hope?
BONNEFOY: I have hope that they'll recover his body.
BLITZER: That's your hope?
BONNEFOY: Yes. I don't have any other expectations. And I hope it's going to be sooner rather than later, because he was in the section that fell last, and he was in one of the top floors. So hopefully, it will be soon.
BLITZER: Our hearts go out to you and your family. Good luck to you. And thank you for spending a couple minutes with us.
BONNEFOY: OK. OK.
BLITZER: We'll stay in touch.
BONNEFOY: OK, thank you.
BLITZER: Thank you very much, Pascale.
Pascale Bonnefoy, another heartbreaking story.
We're going to share more stories and more information, the latest information, when we come back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ERICA HILL, CNN HOST: If you're one of the millions who plan to travel by car this holiday weekend, you may have trouble finding gas. And when you find it, you'll likely pay more. Prices up more than 40 percent since this time last year.
Alison Kosik is live in New York.
The reason for the shortage, as I understand it, it doesn't have to do with the pipeline issue, like a couple months ago. What's behind this, Alison?
ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: You're right, Eric. So this is not a gas shortage in the way you may initially think. There's plenty of supply and plenty of gas in this country.
The bottle neck seems to be happening in the distribution system. There aren't enough tanker-truck drivers to get the gasoline from terminals to gas stations.
In fact, about 20 to 25 of tanker trucks themselves are sitting idle right now, which means that product is just not being moved and the great numbers we saw let's say in 2019.
And the phenomenon happening in the tanker-truck industry, meaning the labor shortage in drivers, has been an issue coming on for a couple years.
We saw it really accelerate during the pandemic. And now, as we come out of it, it's something we saw that we are seeing in the restaurant industry, in the hotel industry as well, this labor shortage.
We're especially noticing it now because we're getting out of our homes and driving more. It's the summer driving season.
GasBuddy is saying, as you hit the road for the holiday weekend, you'll see two things. You'll see scattered outages at various gas stations, probably.
We did see this over the past week where they were either completely out of gas or out of one particular type of gas, like premium.
You'll also see higher gas prices. We're seeing the highest gas prices in about seven years.
You're seeing the average price for a -- national average price for a gallon of gas sitting at $3.11 a gallon. We could see that summer price of gas go as high as $3.25 to $3.35 a gallon.
One cautionary note. The oil price information service is telling me that consumers should not top off tanks because this seems to be more of a scramble than a shortage.
Meaning, that if consumers go ahead and just start filling their cars more than they have to or filling containers, they will cause an actual gas supply shortage -- Erica?
HILL: All right. Alison Kosik, appreciate it. Thank you.
Just ahead, we will take you back near the site of the deadly condo collapse in Florida. One of the mayors who has been at the scene for days, who used to live in that building, will join Wolf, live.
BLITZER: Here in Surfside, Florida, more than 800 responders from 60 agencies are on the ground. They are assisting with the search-and- rescue efforts.
And 210 people are working on the mound over at the collapse site. Workers have moved about three million pounds of concrete while desperately searching for survivors.
I want to discuss what is going on with the mayor of Bal Harbour, Florida, Gabriel Groisman, who is here.
Mayor Groisman, thank you for joining us in Bal Harbour, right next door, just a few blocks away from what is going on.
You know people. You used to live actually in the building that collapsed, didn't you?
MAYOR GABRIEL GROISMAN (R-BAL HARBOUR, FL): I grew up in the building and I know a lot of the family members in the building. They're here from the community --
BLITZER: -- families, what are they saying to you and what do you say to them?
GROISMAN: There's a lot of desperation in the family center, a lot of fear, a lot of anguish like you can imagine.
You know, we are just trying to connect them with all of the information they can get and let them understand what has really happened. That's all we can do.
BLITZER: It is raining now. You can see rain coming down pretty heavily.
The good news is maybe that will provide some water to somebody who might be alive. The bad news is that it slows down the search and rescue operation.
GROISMAN: It also washes away the liquids that are used on the site to try to help locate families. It does make it more difficult.
The crews still work through the rain. They only stop for lightning. But they've been working through the rain all week. We've had condition after condition that hasn't been great. I'm sure
you have covered it, from lightning to fires to rain. It just makes the situation more difficult.
BLITZER: I know, Mayor, that you don't want to mention names, but you know families who are searching for families inside. But tell us some of the people who are missing right now.
BLITZER: People that you know, friends of yours.
GROISMAN: There's a young -- I won't mention names -- but a young couple, 21 years old, that was spending the weekend here. A family from Puerto Rico, a Puerto Rican Jewish family that came in for the funeral of a friend, five family members there.
There's a young married couple, 26 and 27 years old. Story after story. There's a young pregnant woman with her child.
Each one of these times when I tell you the story of the individual, I can picture the family's name and their anguish and also their determination to keep hope because they still do have hope.
BLITZER: The buildings, this building that collapsed and other building in Bal Harbour. And I know Ball Harbor well. I love Bal Harbour.
You have a lot of buildings just like that built in the '70s and '80s, and you are taking new steps right now to deal with this potential crisis.
GROISMAN: We are announcing, in Bal Harbour, like many cities across south Florida are doing, we're doing an immediate review and assessment of all of the buildings in our city.
We are doing specific assessments on every building and sending letters out on every building to make sure they comply with the 40- year recertification and put out a letter that's going out right now as we speak with no tolerance, no extensions.
We just need to enforce the laws that exist as strictly as possible and see what we can do with the county moving forward.
BLITZER: I'm worried about a lot of the buildings because they're similar, the same ground. I don't know what is going on underneath the ground along the Atlantic coast and I'm sure you are as well.
GROISMAN: There's definitely concern, but the buildings in Bal Harbour in this area are generally built very well.
This changed the paradigm. We never thought any of these issues you heard of, any of the buildings could result in the total collapse of a building.
Obviously, even though we don't have all of the facts, we know it is possible and we have to take measures to make sure it never happens again.
BLITZER: What are you hearing right now from families and the search- and-rescue team? What else do they need right now?
GROISMAN: The family members are asking as much as possible for more people to be on the site. It is hard for them to understand the maximum amount of people are on the site.
And Miami-Dade Fire-Rescue, we have the best team in the country around the state working on the site with international partners and friends.
But, of course, if you are the family, it is never fast enough. They just need answers.
BLITZER: When you speak to the family members, I know several of them were reassured by what they heard from the Israelis, right?
GROISMAN: Yes, when the Israeli team came on it was reassuring, especially to the Jewish families with connections to the Jewish Defense Force. They came in, about 11 guys came in to lend a hand.
The county was gracious enough to accept them and figure out how to work together.
At the end of the day, the families need results and answers. This limbo they're in has been the most difficult part.
BLITZER: Thank you, Mayor Gabriel Groisman, for joining us here.
I wish we were meeting under different circumstances. Bal Harbour, you have a great community over there. We're hoping and praying for survivors.
Thank you very much.
And that's it for me. I will be back at 6:00 p.m. Eastern.
Much more of our special live coverage coming up here from south Florida. Much more of our news right after this.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you. Please, please, sit down.
July 4th. Let's get ready. America is open. It is time to celebrate. Full-on fireworks.
(APPLAUSE) Mayor Reynolds -- I was telling the mayor -- he just won reelection, he won election.
I said, you know, I always wonder why anybody runs for mayor because it is the hardest job in American politics.
They know where you live. You can't go to the grocery store. Why is that pothole still there? I get it. You don't have any control of that.
Anyway, Mr. Mayor, thank you for your service. Thank you for your willingness to serve.
I'm here in Wisconsin to celebrate this step forward for my country, our country, talk a little bit about what it is going to mean for working families here in Wisconsin and across the nation.