NORTH MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – After hundreds of residents were told to leave their homes at Crestview Towers in North Miami Beach earlier this month because it was deemed unsafe, they are being let back inside Wednesday to fully move out their belongings if they wish.
The residents were allowed inside two weeks ago for just 15 minutes to grab whatever personal belongings they could, but on Wednesday, they can move out furniture and all of their belongings if they choose to.
North Miami Beach police officers are at the building and residents will still only be allowed inside for a certain amount of time.
“She said we have two hours to get our belongings, then the second time we had 15 minutes,” one resident, Joey Rodriguez, said.
Wednesday is the only day where the nearly 300 residents who live in the building can come to get their belongings without an appointment. Official appointments will begin on Monday.
“It was terrible, very traumatic. You know, I had all my things there, you know, my home is here. This is my home,” Ivana Mora said.
Mora lived in apartment 702 with her sister.
“She’s pregnant and we’re trying to make ends meet. I tried to get a second job,” Mora said.
Mora said the first thing she thought about when she was told that she had to evacuate was how she was leaving behind some irreplaceable items from her family and other things that she worked hard to save for.
North Miami Beach Mayor Anthony DeFillipo said many of the residents want to go back inside to grab their stuff and move on with their lives, stepping away from Crestview for good.
“People do want to get on with their lives. They are tired of feeling this discomplacement that they have in their lives,” he said.
Local 10 News was outside the building Wednesday as some residents complained to the mayor about the lack of communication they’ve been receiving.
“No communication with the tenants – no emails, no texts,” Rodriguez said.
The residents said this whole thing brings back dark memories following the condominium collapse in Surfside.
“All this time that we were without knowing that the building could’ve collapsed at any moment, just like the other building -- it’s terrifying,” Mora said.
Despite the inconvenience, residents said they are glad to be out of the building.
“You know, we’re just glad to be safe and we’re figuring it out little by little,” Rodriguez said.
The future of the building remains unclear.
“The end goal is (that) hopefully the association will follow through and get their certifications and put remedies to the things that are not working correctly in this building and get them fixed,” DeFillipo said. “There’s approximately 39 fire violations, you know, a generator. We wanted the people in the building, but what happens if a week from today there’s a hurricane? You know, are we going to be able to let people go in that building if the common area elements aren’t working correctly? It’s not a healthy place to be. It’s not safe.”
Officials say the condo association and management company should be reaching out to every resident, but if they haven’t, the mayor recommends residents reach out to them.
According to the mayor, engineers are currently working on the building and there’s no timeline for when it will reopen. He said the faster the condo association complies with the fire code violations, the faster the doors can reopen.