Residents of a sister building to the collapsed Surfside, Florida, condominium believe their building is better maintained and don’t plan to evacuate, the Associated Press reported.
While some Champlain Towers North residents have opted to leave, most have decided to stay because they believe their building doesn’t show signs of similar concrete damage that was discovered in Champlain Towers South during a 2018 assessment.
The north tower is about a block from the wreckage of the south tower, which collapsed Thursday and resulted in 11 fatalities as well as over 150 unaccounted for persons, the AP reported.
The collapsed south condominium was built in 1981, while the north building was built the following year by the same company, Nattel Construction, according to the AP. The buildings have similar designs and were built using the same materials.
A preliminary examination of the north tower found zero evidence of extensive damage, said Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett, the AP reported. Burkett said a detailed inspection of the north tower will be conducted Tuesday by an engineering firm hired by the building’s residents and other older buildings in Surfside will also be audited.
The recent collapse raises concerns for older buildings throughout southern Florida. Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava announced an immediate, 30-day audit of “residential properties of five stories or higher at the recertification point – 40 years or older – that have not completed the process, in order to achieve compliance or to swiftly seek appropriate remedy which could include declaring unsafe structures,” a Saturday press release said.
She also encouraged municipalities to conduct their own audits. Miami will undergo a 45-day audit for buildings six stories and higher that are 40 years old or older, the AP reported.
One resident of the north tower, Rebecca Weinstock, told the AP she isn’t convinced it is safe and said the only way she would return is if two independent engineers not from the area deem it safe.
“I’m petrified of returning,” Weinstock said. “I am out my investment, I am out my apartment, I am out my future, but we are talking about lives here.”
Most residents don’t seem worried and only about a quarter of the building has left, said attorney Philip Zyne, the AP reported.
“I’ve never seen any major structural issues,” Zyne said. “I’m not worried at all right now. I do want to get a full structural engineering and forensic examination done.”
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