Miami building collapse: 500 feet of cracks found 25 years before before tragedy
A pool deck which investigators believe could have caused the Miami building collapse which killed at least 95 people was cracked 25 years ago.
Investigators suspect the tragedy, which happened in the early hours of June 24, could have been caused by a fault on the deck – which makes up the roof to the parking area.
As far back as 1996, concerns were raised about 500 feet of cracks, new documents reveal.
The floor is thought to have caved in before the rest of the building, with footage from the scene showing it collapsed as the building went down.
The Miami Herald reports that a construction permit was issued for “concrete structural repair” at the Champlain Towers South complex 25 years ago.
And a year before the tragedy, a prospective buyer filmed large cracks in the parking lot, which made her decide not to move there, Daily Mail reports.
Fiorella Terenzi said the cracks convinced her against buying an apartment in the building.
In 1997 Tong Le, who was the consulting engineer on the project, wrote: “I performed inspection of different phases of the waterproofing of the deck and the repair of approximately … 20 square feet of spalls in the ceiling of the garage.
“The repair has been performed under our inspections from the beginning to completion.”
Before the work was carried out, Rob Sommer, sales manager for Western Waterproofing Company of America to the Surfside Building Department, wrote: “The scope of work will be concrete structural repair in the parking garage.
“This type of repair entails removing loose concrete overhead, treating steel rebar with rust inhibitive coating and patching back with repair mortar. Also included in the garage will be urethane foam injection in ceiling cracks.”
Searchers yesterday found another victim, raising the number of confirmed deaths to 95 as heavy rain and the gruesome challenge of identifying human remains slowed the recovery effort, officials said.
With 892 truckloads of concrete and debris totaling 8.16 million kg carted from the Surfside, Florida, site in past 20 days, the search focused on 14 people who were still missing, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said.
While the number of missing, which includes 10 confirmed victims who have yet to be identified, has declined sharply and is less than half of what it was just two days ago, officials said finishing the search would be more time consuming.
“It’s a scientific, methodical process to identify human remains,” Levine Cava told a briefing. “As we’ve said, this work is becoming more difficult with the passage of time, and although our teams are working as hard as they can, it takes time.”
So far, the local medical examiner has identified the remains of 85 of the 95 known victims, and their families have been notified, she added.
The list of those unaccounted for was compiled from all reports received from family members, even if they were uncertain that their missing loved ones were in the building at the time of the collapse, officials said.
The only people known to have survived were pulled from the wreckage within hours after part of the 12-story oceanfront Champlain Towers South condominium complex collapsed without warning.
Also slowing the process were heavy rains on Monday that flooded the site and its underground garage, and forced searchers to pause while the water was pumped out, officials said.
Once the search is finished, Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said his town’s structural engineer will inspect and test the site to try to determine what caused the collapse.
Out of caution officials issued a voluntary evacuation notice for sister complex, Champlain Towers North, which was built around the same time as the doomed structure and remains occupied. However after inspections it was found to be safe.