SURFSIDE, Fla. (AP) — The oceanfront condo building that collapsed near Miami had “major structural damage” to a concrete structural slab below its pool deck that needed to be extensively repaired, according to a 2018 engineering report on the building.
The report was among a series of documents released by the city of Surfside as rescuers continued to dig Saturday through the rubble of the condo in an effort to find any of the 159 people who remain unaccounted for after its collapse. At least four people were killed.
While the engineering report from the firm of Morabito Consultants did not warn of imminent danger from the damage — and it is unclear if any of the damage observed was responsible for the collapse — it did note the need for extensive and costly repairs to fix the systemic issues with the building.
It said the waterproofing under the pool deck had failed and had been improperly laid flat instead of sloped, preventing water from draining off. The report also uncovered “abundant cracking and spalling” of concrete columns, beams and walls in the parking garage.
Officials said they still don’t know exactly how many residents or visitors were in the building when it fell, but they were trying to locate 159 people who were considered unaccounted for and may or may not have been there.
Flowers left in tribute decorated a fence near the tower, and people awaiting news about the search watched from a distance, hands clasped and hugging. Congregants prayed at a nearby synagogue where some members were among the missing.
Miami-Dade Police Director Freddy Ramirez said authorities were working with the medical examiner’s office to identify the bodies that have been found. Eleven injuries were reported, with four people treated at hospitals.
Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said rescuers were at “extreme risk” going through the rubble.
“Debris is falling on them as they do their work,” she said. “We have structural engineers on-site to ensure that they will not be injured, but they are proceeding because they are so motivated.”