“People have a right to know that,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said on Friday (local time). “It should be clear soon if this is a bigger issue or if there was something wrong with the building.”
It turned out on Saturday that an engineer had already warned of “major structural damage” to the building three years ago. The newspaper The New York Times saw a report describing extensive damage to the concrete foundation under the pool, as well as an abundance of cracks and chipping in the pillars, beams and walls of the parking lot beneath the complex. This damage was likely caused by years of exposure to salty sea air along the coast.
At the time, engineer Frank Morabita urged the building management to make quick repairs. His report was used to develop a repair project that would cost millions of euros and was due to start soon – more than 2.5 years after management’s warning.
Investigators responsible for determining the cause of the disaster do not yet have full access to the site. Experts say it will take months to explore all possible scenarios: examining the individual components of the building now buried under the rubble, testing the concrete and examining the earth to determine if a sinkhole or other subsidence may have anything to do with it. with the collapse.
Large pieces of rubble
Meanwhile, rescue teams work on the smoldering unstable cement and steel mounds, hoping to find survivors. It is precise work to be done in the heat and in torrential rain. Heavy machinery carefully lifts large pieces of rubble to provide rescuers with new entrances into the rubble.
It is not known how many people were in the building when it collapsed, but US media called the complex a “microcosm” of multicultural Miami. Among the missing are residents of many Latin American countries such as Argentina, Cuba, Venezuela and Colombia, as well as many Israelis. According to locals, every December there was a Christmas tree and a menorah (a seven-armed candelabra) in the hall. “It was typical of the open-minded community in these towers,” said Rabbi Eliot Pearlson of one of the five synagogues within walking distance of the building. The Washington Post.
Meanwhile, hundreds of people are awaiting news of their missing loved ones at a center set up for them. One of the dead has so far been identified: Stacie Fang, the mother of a 15-year-old boy who was shot alive under the rubble. The others do not know if their fathers, mothers, children, brothers, sisters or friends who lived in the 55 destroyed apartments are still alive.
But residents are also panicking. At an emergency city council meeting, officials said they were called by residents wondering if their apartment building was safe, and called for a closer look at all apartment complexes in the area that have over six floors and are 40 years old. the building that collapsed.
Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said there was no immediate evidence other buildings are in danger, but evacuation of people from surrounding complexes is being considered – although many residents have already chosen to go alone.