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Neighboring residents express concern as investigation into Champlain Towers South collapse continues

Residents living near Champlain Towers South concerned over their own safety
Residents living near Champlain Towers South concerned over their own safety

SURFSIDE, Fla. – The mayor of Surfside addressed growing concerns Sunday about the structural integrity of other residential oceanfront buildings, particularly the other Champlain Towers buildings.

“When we walked through, nothing jumped out at us that seemed overly problematic,” said Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett. “The condominium association is bringing in a team of engineers this coming week to pour over that building.”

As search and rescue efforts continue at the site of the Champlain Towers South building, a federal agency of structural engineers are working to answer the question on everyone’s mind; why did this happen?

Jason Averill, Chief of the Materials and Structural Systems Division with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, is already gathering records and documents on what caused the catastrophic collapse.

“If there are building failures, we can determine what happens so that they can’t happen again in other kinds of buildings,” Averill said. “We would like to preserve any evidence that might be critical to helping determine what happened in the building.”

The building was undergoing its 40-year recertification process. A permit issued just one day before Thursday’s early morning collapse was for the installation of roof safety anchors and other repairs. A roof fix was already in progress.

Structural engineer Jason Borden conducted a survey at the building last year.

“In a 40-year-old building this shouldn’t have happened,” he said.

His firm also worked on a proposal to provide engineering services for the building’s inspection.

“For something like this to happen, it most likely was a combination of many things in a perfect storm situation,” Borden said.

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About the Author:

Saira Anwer joined the Local 10 News team in July 2018. Saira is two-time Emmy-nominated reporter and comes to South Florida from Madison, Wisconsin, where she was working as a reporter and anchor.