The building that collapsed in Miami is still a permanent news station, all of them dramatic. Now the desperate call of the first firefighter to arrive at the scene of the tragedy, who in a complete state of shock describes what is in front of his eyes comparing it to what was, perhaps, the worst American tragedy in its modern history: 9/11.
In the conversation, the operator is heard alerting the rescue officials about the “collapse of the parking lot” of the building located in the Calle 88 with Av. Collins. And immediately the response of the first rescuers to arrive at the Champlain Towers, where the disaster occurred last week.
His words are eloquent: “I see a lot of people on their balconies. The building fell. There are no elevators, ”described the first official to arrive at the disaster site. “It looks like the World Trade Center”He added.
Police officers patrol a boat in front of Miami’s collapsed Champlain Towers. Photo: Reuter
“Some people are evacuating, they say it sounded like a bomb”Commented the rescuer.
The building needed repairs for US $ 9 million
After the tragedy, one of the first information that emerged was the marked deterioration of the Champlain Towers, to the point that it was confirmed that it needed repairs and works worth more than nine million dollars, including 3.8 million only for the garage and the pool, precisely the place of the condominium that today is pointed out as the trigger for the collapse.
That’s one of the new revelations contained in a 2018 report, which highlighted that the building had structural damage. Nearly three years before the Champlain Towers waterfront condo near Miami collapsed, an engineering firm estimated that the major repairs the building needed would cost more than $ 9 million, according to recently released emails.
The signature email Morabito Consultants was part of a series of documents published by the City of Surfside (Miami-Dade County) as rescue efforts continued at the site of the collapsed building, amid debris, where 16 people have already died and there are more than 140 missing.
The release of the 2018 cost estimate followed the earlier release of another company document showing that the building’s ground floor pool deck rested on a concrete slab that had “major structural damage” and needed a thorough repair.
That report also discovered “abundant cracks and chipping” of columns, beams and concrete walls in the parking lot. The report did not warn of the imminent danger of the damage and it is unclear if any of the observed damage was responsible for the Champlain Towers South collapse, but it is being investigated.
An aerial view of the collapsed building. Reuters photo
The cost estimate showed that repairs throughout the building would cost more than $ 9.1 million, and that the cost of work on the garage, driveway and pool deck would represent more than 3.8 million.
The work was not finished when the building collapsed. The previous report said that the waterproofing under the pool deck had failed and it had been improperly positioned flat rather than slanted, preventing the water from running off.
Rescuers search the pile of rubble for survivors. AFP photo
“Failed waterproofing is causing significant structural damage to the structural concrete slab below these areas, “says the report. If the waterproofing is not replaced” in the near future, the extent of deterioration of the concrete will expand exponentially, “the report said today.
The firm recommended that the damaged slabs be replaced in what would be a major repair. Some of the concrete damage in the parking lot was minor, while other columns had exposed and deteriorated rebar. He also noted that many of the building’s previous attempts to repair columns and other damage with epoxy (a special resin) were marred by poor workmanship and were failing Under the pool deck “where the slab had been injected. With epoxy, new cracks were radiated from the originally repaired cracks, “the report says.
These were all problems that should have been resolved quicklyGregg Schlesinger, a construction defect attorney and former construction project engineer, was quoted as saying by local press.
Rescuers continue to work around the clock searching for survivors. Photo: AP:
“The building speaks to us. It tells us we have a serious problem,” said Schlesinger. “They (for building managers, NDR) they kicked the can down the road. The maintenance was inadequate. All of these were red flags that needed to be addressed and were not done, “he said.
In a statement, Morabito Consultants confirmed that its report “detailed significant cracks and breaks in concrete, which required repairs to ensure the safety of residents and the public. “The firm said it was rehired in June 2020 by Champlain Towers South to begin the 40-year recertification process that would detail what work needed to be done.