TERRIFIED people living in the sister block of the Miami apartment tower that collapsed leaving at least nine dead have fled their homes out of fear their building could be next.
Many residents of Champlain Tower North – which was built one year after the doomed condo with the same design and constructors – hastily packed their bags, despite being told evacuation is not necessary.
At least nine people have been confirmed dead with more than 150 still missing after the Champlain Tower South in Surfside crumbled at around 1.30am last Thursday morning.
Residents of its sister block have been told by officials there is no need to evacuate, but many have dismissed this and decided to leave on their own accord.
William Bradford left his apartment with just essential items after becoming overwhelmed with stress, reports Sky News.
"I'm just going back for my passport and documents," he told the outlet.
"I am very worried. I am 75-years-old and I am living with the stress every day that this building is going to collapse.
"I had to get out of there."
Gov Ron DeSantis warned on Saturday that the building may have to be evacuated – but authorities decided residents should stay put.
Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said a review of the structure has been completed and nothing was found to be "out of order".
He added that the town is ironing out plans to offer residents of the north tower a place to relocate to temporarily, with the Federal Emergency Management Agency offering its support.
On Saturday, a family-of-four decided to move out to a nearby hotel out of fear for their safety.
"We just want to move out, just for safety," one of them told the New York Times.
It comes after a report has revealed the collapsed building had "major structural damage" and needed widespread repairs.
A 2018 engineering report from Morabito Consultants claimed: “The failed waterproofing is causing major structural damage to the concrete structural slab below these areas."
“Failure to replace the waterproofing in the near future will cause the extent of the concrete deterioration to expand exponentially," the report stated.
The report cited gross structural flaws of Champlain Towers South that required substantial repair of the damaged slabs.
Meanwhile, the developers of the condo that collapsed were previously accused of paying off officials to get permits, it has been reported.
The 12-story condo was developed by an estate partnership including Nathan Reiber who died in 2014, The Washington Post reports.
The developers were accused of contributing to at least two board members' campaigns in a bid to get preferential treatment with permits.
Work on the site couldn’t start because of a 1979 order that suspended construction due to faulty sewers.
Other contractors saw their work blocked and accused the developers of getting preferential treatment, Mail Online reports.
The developers reportedly got their project approved by agreeing to pay around half of the $400,000 bill that it would cost to repair the sewers.
A year later, they asked campaign donations to be returned.
Rescue crews are still continuing to work around the clock to find survivors in the rubble of the 12-story building.
Officials said 130 people were accounted for after the tragedy, but 156 remain missing.
Family members of a student who is still unaccounted for are screaming her name in the hope that she will hear them.
Search and rescue teams have dug a 125ft tunnel in a bid to find any survivors from the debris.
Nicole Langsfeld and her husband Luis Sadovnic are among those missing and family members call her name in a hope that she may hear them, Mail Online reports.
CNN reporter Faith Karimi said: “Nicole Langsfeld's uncle told me when they got there, they took turns screaming out her name, hoping she'd hear them beneath the rubble.”
Tragically, the death toll rose from five to nine on Sunday, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levin Cava confirmed.
"As of today, one victim passed away in the hospital, and we've recovered eight more victims on-site, so I am confirming today that the death toll is at nine," she said.
The identities of the four new victims were released on Sunday night by Miami-Dade Police – Luis Bermúdez, 26; his mother Anna Ortiz, 46; Leon Oliwkowicz, 80; and Christina Beatriz Elvira, 74.
Bermúdez's family confirmed his death in a social media post as they mourned his loss.
He was described as a "silent warrior" after battling against muscular dystrophy and using a wheelchair to set up his own clothing business.
Meanwhile, Miami authorities are conducting an investigation into the condo collapse, though an official cause behind the devastation has yet to be determined.
After the collapse, Cava said there were "structural" issues and said engineers are working to determine the risk and cause of the tragedy.
The building was built in 1981 and was undergoing roof work for about 30 days before the disaster struck in the early hours of June 24.
Meanwhile, friends and family of the dozens of people who are still unaccounted for are desperately waiting for answers.
The first victim of the collapse was named Stacie Fang – a mom who helped prop her 15-year-old son from the rubble to safety above.
Another name released on Saturday was Manuel LaFont, who lived in Apartment No 801, according to the Miami-Dade Police Department.
Two missing people who were found in the rubble were identified as Antonio and Gladys Lozano, both in their 80s.
Source: Read Full Article