MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A roof overhand collapsed Tuesday morning at the same apartment building where another overhang similarly fell down last month, forcing the evacuation of 36 apartments.
Because of those previous evacuations at the Lakeview Gardens at 17650 Northwest 68th Avenue, nobody was in the building where the roof came down Tuesday and no one was hurt. Other buildings in the complex do have residents.
Back on July 15, huge chunks of a roof’s overhang collapsed. That incident led to the evacuations and road closures but nobody was injured that day, either.
Lakeview Gardens is 47 years old. Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said in July that the building passed its certification at the 40-year mark and the engineers’ initial assessment of the building showed it was structurally sound.
After Tuesday’s collapse, the mayor said that the condo association will do necessary repairs in the coming week.
"In light of today’s incident, the Building Official and other County staff met again with the condo association and informed them that we can’t wait any longer for them to act,” Levine Cava said in a statement. “The Association shared that they have secured funding to make the repairs and intend to do so in the coming week.”
Signs of active construction and repairs were apparent at the apartment ahead of Tuesday’s collapse.
A state representative who coincidentally said he was headed to the building to check on its progress and find out when residents might be able to return told Local 10 News that somebody heard a piece of the building fall down Tuesday morning and called 911.
While residents in that building don’t know they’ll be allowed back in, neighbors in the building next door say they are also worried and confused.
They point out a sign that says “unsafe building” taped on one of their walls.
Despite that, 80-year-old Tania Soto says no one has told her or any of her neighbors to evacuate.
Soto says even if she’s asked to leave, she has nowhere to go.
Local 10 News went to the management office Tuesday afternoon and called the property management company looking for answers and found nobody to speak to.
These apartment concerns come less than two months after the catastrophic partial collapse of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside that killed 98 people.
Levine Cava’s full statement Tuesday said:
“Following the original incident at Lakeview Gardens, we ordered an immediate evacuation of the impacted building to protect the safety and wellbeing of the residents. Over the last several weeks the County has been working closely with the building condo association to ensure needed repairs are undertaken as swiftly as possible. In light of today’s incident, the Building Official and other County staff met again with the condo association and informed them that we can’t wait any longer for them to act. The Association shared that they have secured funding to make the repairs and intend to do so in the coming week. Given that we are in the worst part of hurricane season and the roof presents a safety hazard to residents and nearby buildings, we are exploring all possible options including taking emergency action to demolish the remaining mansard roof and shore up the mansard roofs on the other buildings. If the Condo Association fails to act immediately as they have indicated, the County may pursue these or other emergency actions.
“Further, Miami-Dade County is taking urgent action to ensure the safety of all our residents and to address any concerns with older buildings. That’s why I directed County teams to undertake an audit of all buildings under County purview 40 years or older at the recertification point, and to take immediate steps to address any issues identified. We are also meeting directly with experts from multiple relevant fields – from engineering to legal to construction to development and more – as well as policymakers at the local, state, and federal levels to look closely at issues related to building safety. Our goal is to produce a set of recommendations for changes that can be made at all steps in the building and inspection process to ensure the wellbeing of all our residents.”