Hundreds ordered to evacuate ‘unsafe’ Miami condo building

City officials ordered residents to leave the 8-storey structure weeks after 98 died in a nearby condo collapse.

Weeks after a deadly condo collapse in Surfside, Florida, a nearby condo building is evacuated [File: Miami Dade Fire Department/Handout via Reuters]

Six weeks after 98 people died in the collapse of a condo building in Surfside, Florida, residents of an eight-storey condo in nearby Miami were ordered Monday to evacuate after the structure was deemed “unsafe” by city officials.

Residents of the 138-unit building lugged belongings to their vehicles, news outlets reported. They were ordered to be out by Tuesday morning.

“My grandfather just comes in the house screaming that we have to leave immediately,” said a resident identified by WSVN-TV as Mya Ncastanedo.

“If this building is demolished, there goes our property … and all our memories from growing up here.”

The building was put on notice July 7 for several violations, including failure to obtain its 40-year recertification as safe to occupy.

“We felt the building occupants were not safe,” Miami Building Director Asael “Ace” Marrero told the Miami Herald.

On July 26, city officials met with residents who were concerned about the condition of the building, the Herald reported.

City staff inspected the building the next day and determined that the detached elevated garage had to be closed because of structural concerns, according to the newspaper.

Officials also told the building’s property manager that the damaged columns in the main building’s first floor “required emergency shoring”.

The city ordered the building’s officials to submit a plan to fix the issue immediately, but never received any plans, officials said. The building also did not apply for any permits to make repairs.

On August 5, city officials received a letter from an engineer saying the “building was safe for current occupancy while the emergency repair work continued”, the Herald reported.

The next day, an inspector from Miami saw work being done without a permit, and a stop-work order was issued.

On Monday, officials from Miami’s building department met with the condo association and the engineer. They found the columns to be “structurally insufficient”.

That is when the evacuation order was issued.

Police patrol outside of Crestview Towers, which was evacuated July 3 after an audit found the building structurally and electrically unsafe [File: Lynne Sladky/AP Photo]

City officials told the Herald they are working with residents to find temporary housing.

Since the collapse of Champlain Towers South in Surfside on June 24, residents from several South Florida buildings have been emptied as officials are becoming more cautious about structural concerns and building safety.

Residents of the 10-storey Crestview Towers in North Miami Beach and the three-storey Regent Palace in Surfside were among those evacuated last month.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies