Residents of the Florida condo tower that collapsed last week were told their building was “in very good shape” — only a month after a 2018 engineering study uncovered “major structural damage,” a new report says.
Board members of Champlain Towers South Condo in the town of Surfside next to Miami Beach held a meeting Nov. 15, 2018, during which the damning private engineering report was discussed, NPR said.
The lack of proper drainage on its pool deck, which sits above the building’s parking garage, was creating an “extremely expensive” and worrisome problem, said the study produced for the condominium association, according to the Miami Herald.
Yet minutes of the meeting, reviewed by NPR, showed that a Surfside town building inspector told the tenants at the session they had nothing to worry about.
“Structural engineer report was reviewed by [the inspector],” the meeting minutes said. “It appears the building is in very good shape.”
Condo resident Susana Alvarez, who was at the meeting, told NPR, “We sat there with the town of Surfside.
“And the town of Surfside said to us that the building was not in bad shape.”
The tower collapsed around 1:30 a.m. Thursday, killing at least nine people, with more than 150 still unaccounted for as rescuers dig feverishly for survivors.
Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett has previously said the report was likely not read by town officials at the time, and Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava insisted her camp “knew nothing” of it.
According to town officials, the building inspector is no longer employed by Surfside. NPR attempted repeatedly to reach him, but those efforts were unsuccessful.
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