Video from a nearby security camera shows what happened Thursday night last week: Much of the complex, on the north side, is collapsing. Eight seconds later, another room collapses. In eleven seconds, there is nothing but emptiness in a place where hundreds of people have gone to bed a few hours earlier.
On Saturday, it turned out that an engineer had already warned three years ago that “major structural damage” had been discovered on the property. The newspaper The New York Times saw a report describing extensive damage to the concrete foundation under the pool. The report also points to a plethora of cracks and collapses in the pillars, beams and walls of the parking lot beneath the complex – damage likely from years of exposure to salty sea air.
At the time, engineer Frank Morabita urged the building management to make quick repairs. A multi-million dollar recovery process has been developed and is said to be launched soon – more than 2.5 years after management was notified.
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.
Meanwhile, rescue teams are working on the still smoldering unstable concrete and steel mounds, hoping to find survivors. It is precision work, which must 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. Human remains have been found, but DNA tests are needed to identify the victims.
In American media, the resort is referred to as “the microcosm” of multicultural Miami. Among the missing are residents of many Latin American countries such as Argentina, Cuba, Venezuela and Paraguay (including the sister of that country’s first lady), 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. Israel sent a search team from its armed forces to Florida over the weekend to assist American rescuers.
Meanwhile, hundreds of people are awaiting news of their disappearance at a center that has been set up for them. To date, four deaths have been recorded. Most people still don’t know if their fathers, mothers, children, brothers, sisters or friends who lived in the 55 destroyed apartments are still alive.
The neighbors are also panicking. At an emergency city council meeting, officials said they were called by residents wondering if their apartment building was still safe, and called for a further investigation of all apartment complexes in the area that have over six floors and are 40 years old. like the building that collapsed.
Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said there was no immediate evidence other buildings were in danger, but evacuation of people from surrounding complexes was being considered – although many residents chose to leave of their own accord.