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Miami orders the evacuation of a condo tower deemed unsafe

Residents of an eight-story condo building in Miami were ordered to evacuate after the building was deemed unsafe by city officials.

On Monday night, six weeks after 98 people died in the collapse of the Champlain Towers South in nearby Surfside, residents of the 138-unit building lugged belongings out to their vehicles, news outlets reported. They were ordered to vacate the building by Tuesday morning.

“My grandfather just comes in the house screaming that we have to leave immediately,” one resident told television station WSVN. “If this building is demolished, there goes our property ... and all our memories from growing up here.”

The building was put on notice July 7 for several violations, including failure to obtain its 40-year recertification as safe to occupy.

“We felt the building occupants were not safe,” Miami Building Director Asael “Ace” Marrero told the Miami Herald.

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On July 26, city officials met with residents who were concerned about the condition of the building, the Herald reported.

Recordings of 911 calls after the Miami-area condo tower collapse show disbelief, panic and confusion as people tried to comprehend what happened.

City staff inspected the building the following day and determined that the detached elevated garage had to be closed because of structural concerns, according to the newspaper.

Officials also told the building’s property manager that the damaged columns in the main building’s first floor “required emergency shoring.”

The city ordered the building’s officials to submit a plan to fix the issue immediately but never received one, officials said. The building also did not apply for any permits to make repairs.

On Thursday, city officials received a letter from an engineer saying the “building was safe for current occupancy while the emergency repair work continued,” the Herald reported.

Some residents in the twin tower of the collapsed Florida condo building are too afraid to stay, but others say the sister structure is in good shape.

The next day, an inspector from Miami saw work being done without a permit, and a stop-work order was issued.

On Monday, officials from Miami’s Building Department met with the condo association and the engineer. They found the columns to be “structurally insufficient.” That’s when the evacuation order was issued.

City officials told the Herald that they were working with residents to find temporary housing.

Since the tower collapse in Surfside on June 24, residents from several south Florida buildings have been evacuated because of structural concerns.

On Tuesday morning, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was in Surfside to hand out $1,000 checks to first responders who helped in the search-and-rescue mission after the collapse. The money was provided through a bill approved by the state Legislature earlier this year as a “thank you” to first responders for all they’ve done throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.


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