June 26, 2021 – In Breaking News – The New York Times
Three years before the deadly collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium complex near Miami, a consultant found alarming evidence of “major structural damage” to the concrete slab below the pool deck and “abundant” cracking and crumbling of the columns, beams and walls of the parking garage under the 13-story building.
The engineer’s report helped shape plans for a multimillion-dollar repair project that was set to get underway soon — more than two and a half years after the building managers were warned — but the building suffered a catastrophic collapse in the middle of the night on Thursday, trapping sleeping residents in a massive heap of debris.
(The full investigation into why a Florida condo collapsed could take months, but we’re already learning more about the building and its history. The focus in on concrete and steel. Courtesy of TODAY and YouTube. Posted into Jun 25, 2021.)
The complex’s management association had disclosed some of the problems in the wake of the collapse, but it was not until city officials released the 2018 report late Friday that the full nature of the concrete and rebar damage — most of it probably caused by years of exposure to the corrosive salt air along the South Florida coast — became chillingly apparent.
“Though some of this damage is minor, most of the concrete deterioration needs to be repaired in a timely fashion,” the consultant, Frank Morabito, wrote about damage near the base of the structure as part of his October 2018 report on the 40-year-old building in Surfside, Fla.
He gave no indication that the structure was at risk of collapse, though he noted that the needed repairs would be aimed at “maintaining the structural integrity” of the building and its 136 units.
(The condominium association was in contact with engineers and architects preparing to complete its 40-year building recertification. Courtesy of News4JAX and YouTube. Posted on Jun 24, 2021.)
Kenneth S. Direktor, a lawyer who represents the resident-led association that operates the building, said this week that the repairs had been set to commence, based on extensive plans drawn up this year.
“They were just about to get started on it,” he said in an interview, adding that the process would have been handled much differently if owners had had any indication that the corrosion and crumbling — mild instances of which are relatively common in many coastal buildings — were a serious threat.
But Eliana Salzhauer, a Surfside commissioner, said that while the cause of the collapse was unknown, it appeared to her that the problems identified by the engineer in the 2018 report could have contributed to the structural failure.
“It’s upsetting to see these documents because the condo board was clearly made aware that there were issues,” Ms. Salzhauer said. “And it seems from the documents that the issues were not addressed.”
(Florida rescuers and authorities are responding to a partial building collapse in Surfside near Miami Beach. Courtesy of NBC News and YouTube. Posted on Jun 26, 2021.)
Continue reading… Engineer Warned of ‘Major Structural Damage’ at Florida Condo Complex
FEMA Approves Emergency Declaration for Surfside Building Collapse
Today, Governor Ron DeSantis visited the site of the Surfside Building Collapse and received a briefing on latest efforts from Florida Division of Emergency Management Director (FDEM) Director Kevin Guthrie.
Governor DeSantis also met with Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava and had a call with President Joe Biden.
Following the briefing, Governor DeSantis joined state and local officials to provide an update on state response efforts and announce that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved an Emergency Declaration for the Surfside Building Collapse, which provides access to additional critical resources.
Following the local declaration of emergency by Miami-Dade County, Governor DeSantis issued a State of Emergency for Miami-Dade County and requested that FEMA declare an emergency as a result of the major residential building collapse.
With this announcement, individuals impacted by the Surfside Building Collapse will have access to FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program.
FDEM Director Kevin Guthrie remains on-scene at the collapse to ensure all resources are available to aid search and rescue efforts in Surfside and coordinate the state’s response.
The State Emergency Operations Center has activated to a Level 2, to assist with the coordination of additional state and federal resources. At this time, all resource requests are being met.
State response efforts include:
FDEM is deploying the state Individual Assistance Officer and the state Mental Health Coordinator to assist with coordinating available resources for impacted individuals.
FDEM is preparing personal protective equipment and Comfort Kits to support Urban Search and Rescue Teams. The kits include items like face shields, gloves, Tyvek suits, meals and bottled water.
FDEM is deploying a Mobile Incident Management Unit to provide additional support for state personnel on-scene.
FDEM is coordinating with Florida State University to deploy drones to the site and assist with color imagery and 3D mapping for search and rescue efforts.
Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces 4 (Central Florida) and 6 (Southwest Florida) are mobilizing to support current search and rescue efforts.
The Agency for Health Care Administration is preparing the Emergency Census Missing Persons to cross-reference individuals who have not yet been accounted for with health care facilities’ censuses.
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is coordinating with private-sector partners, including Expedia and AirBnB.org, to identify additional support.
AirBnB.org is coordinating directly with the American Red Cross and local mass care coordinators to assess the housing needs of the victims.
Volunteer Florida is coordinating with local organizations and partners to provide assistance to impacted individuals. Local organizations include the American Red Cross, United Way of Miami, Hope Animal Crisis Response, Neighbors to Neighbors, Jewish Community Services, Catholic Charities, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Florida Regional Interfaith/Inter-Agency Emergency Network for Disaster.
Volunteer Florida is issuing guidance on how to contribute to the recovery of the Surfside Building Collapse. Cash is the most flexible and effective form of donation. Two main funds have been launched by trustworthy, local organizations to receive monetary donations: Support Surfside and the Surfside Building Collapse Victim Fund.
The Florida Department of Children and Families is coordinating with Miami-Dade County to offer displaced families items such as pack n’ plays, strollers, bassinets and gift cards.
Previous state response efforts for the Surfside Building Collapse are available here.
(Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava announced that 99 people are unaccounted for after the high-rise collapse near Miami Beach. Cava also signed an emergency order for FEMA support. Courtesy of NBC News and YouTube. Posted on Jun 24, 2021.)
Individuals with information about loved ones who are unaccounted for, or are safe, are encouraged to call the reunification hotline at 305-614-1819.
Impacted individuals are also encouraged to contact the following helpline services for immediate emotional support:
Disaster Distress Helpline – 800-985-5990
Florida 211 Network – 211
Crisis Text Line – Text HELLO to 741741
State personnel remain on scene and will continue to provide assistance, as requested.
In the face of tragedy our families and communities keep us strong. Our Surfside family is hurting but the spirit of hope is on display with local, community and faith leaders helping those in need.
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) June 25, 2021
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