Florida condo building deemed unsafe, evacuation ordered – The Journal
City of North Miami Beach ordered condominium evacuation after examination found unsafe conditions
NORTH MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) – The city of North Miami Beach ordered the evacuation of a condominium on Friday after an examination found unsafe conditions about five miles from the site of the deadly collapse of the last week in South Florida.
An audit caused by the collapse of the South Champlain Towers at nearby Surfside found that the 156-unit Crestview Towers were found to be structurally and electrically unsafe months ago, the city said in a press release.
“Out of caution, the City has ordered the immediate closure of the building and the evacuation of residents for their protection, while a full structural assessment is conducted and next steps are determined,” said City Manager Arthur H. Sorey. III in the press release.
The evacuation comes as city officials in South Florida and statewide examine older skyscrapers in the aftermath of the Surfside collapse to ensure important structural issues are not being overlooked .
Evacuation of residents carrying suitcases in cars Friday night outside Crestview, which was built in 1972.
North Miami Beach commissioner Fortuna Smukler rushed into the building on Friday afternoon. She said authorities were working to help evacuated residents find places to go. She said that with the approach of the storm, it was a particularly stressful time for the residents. Smukler knows two people who are still missing in the Surfside building collapse.
“I ran here right away because it’s important to me. I had to make sure what happened at Surfside didn’t happen here, ”she said. “It could have been our building instead of Surfside.”
The mayor of Miami-Dade County had suggested an audit of buildings 40 and older to ensure they comply with the local recertification process after the condominium collapse last week that killed au less 22 people and left more than 120 missing.
After reviewing the records, the city’s Building and Zoning Department sent out a notification that the Crestview building was non-compliant. The property manager submitted a January recertification report on Friday in which an engineer hired by the condo board of directors found the property unsafe. The city then ordered all residents to evacuate immediately.
“I fear that more buildings are in this state. Hope this is an easy fix. Fortunately, we have at least evacuated the residents and no harm will befall them or their pets, ”said Smukler.
The Crestview Condominium Association could not be reached immediately for comment on the delay between January’s recertification report and Friday’s evacuation.
The North Miami Beach Police Department was assisting with the evacuation.
The Crestview Towers Condo Association said in a lawsuit in federal court that it suffered $ 8.1 million in damage from Hurricane Irma in 2017. The condo association sued its insurer, Liberty Surplus Insurance Corp., for not paying the claim. Lawyers for the insurer did not immediately respond to email requests for comment.
The detailed estimates listed in the lawsuit showed repair needs of over $ 533,000 for the roof, $ 750,000 for concrete restoration, $ 605,000 for electrical work and $ 405,000 for new windows, among other repairs.
A parallel lawsuit has also been filed in Miami State Court. This spring, the parties called for the federal lawsuit to be dismissed and agreed to begin mediation in May in the state lawsuit.
AP editors Mike Schneider in Orlando, Florida, and Denise Lavoie in Richmond, Virginia, contributed to this report.