Take a more in-depth take a look at Champlain Towers South Condominiums

Read in Spanish

Investigators were working Thursday to find out what caused the collapse of a 40-year-old beachfront condo in South Florida that killed at least one person and injured 10 others.

Rescuers continued to search for survivors after part of the Champlain Towers South, a 12-story condominium, in the town of Surfside, Florida, was “pancaked” just before 2 a.m. Thursday, Mayor Charles Burkett said.

About half of the building’s more than 130 units were affected, said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, and officials fear many more may be dead and trapped under the rubble.

Why the building collapsed is not known at first. Burkett said the roof was recently worked on, but he didn’t think it would cause the building to collapse.

The collapse left heaps of debris around the building and dusted cars two blocks away.

Here’s what we know about the building:

The Champlain Towers South was built in 1981

The L-shaped Champlain Towers South is in the southeast corner of Surfside, and Burkett said the building wasn’t old compared to some of the other Art Deco buildings in South Beach from the 1920s.

“There’s no need for this building to collapse like this unless someone literally pulls the supports out from below or they wash out or there’s a sinkhole,” said Burkett. “… because it just went under.”

Photos: Heartbreaking images show the collapse of the Surfside building and rescue efforts

The City of Surfside requires commercial and apartment buildings to be recertified, including electrical and structural inspections, every 40 years in order to file a report with the City. City officials announced on Thursday that this process is underway for the building, but not yet completed.

“The bottom line is this isn’t an old building and 40 years of inspection or not shouldn’t be happening,” said Burkett.

Researchers found that condominiums had sunk into the earth at an alarming rate

A Florida International University researcher said the building was built on reclaimed wetlands and was classified as unstable a year ago.

The building sank at a rate of about 2 millimeters per year in the 1990s, and the demise may have slowed or accelerated in time since then, according to a study by Shimon Wdowinski, professor in the Department of Earth and Environment at. from 2020 International University of Florida.

“I looked at myself this morning and said, ‘Oh my god.’ We found that, ”he said of the Champlain Towers South.

The level of settlement observed in the 1990s can have effects on buildings and their structures, such as cracked walls or shifting foundations, Wdowinski said.

detection: The collapsed condo in Miami had sunk into the ground back in the 1990s

Roof work has recently been done

Burkett said that roofing work was being done on the building. A crane had been on the building and he said the work likely required inspection and approval.

Burkett didn’t know how heavy the equipment used to work on the roof was, but he didn’t think the weight would have caused the collapse. “It’s hard to imagine that this could have sparked such a catastrophic collapse,” he added.

The rescue operations were underway on Thursday evening.

The building had more than 130 units

Online records show more than 130 units in the building. Some were owned by individuals and others by LLCs.

“I have no hope”: Loved ones await news, survivors flee after the condominium building near Miami partially collapsed

Some two-bedroom units under development are for sale with asking prices ranging from $ 600,000 to $ 700,000, an Internet search reveals.

The building’s website advertises “incredible views of the ocean or spectacular views of the waterway between the coasts with the city in the background”.

It adds that year-round ocean breezes help keep summer and winter temperatures moderate, and that the condos are “close to some of the best shopping Miami has to offer and famous Miami nightlife.”

SOURCE USA TODAY Network Reporting and Research; Associated Press, Google Earth

Gina Barton, Kyle Bagenstose, Pat Beall, Aleszu Bajak, Elizabeth Weise, Becky Kellogg, Andy Scott, Rachel Aretakis, Teresa Frontado and Shawn Sullivan contributed to this report.

Stories like this are possible because our subscribers are like you. Your support will enable us to continue producing high quality journalism.

Stay up to date by signing up for one of our newsletters.

Log In

Published June 24, 2021 at 17:03 UTC
Updated June 24, 2021 at 10:02 p.m. UTC

Comments are closed.