HIALEAH, Fla. – A Hialeah apartment building has been deemed unsafe after a partial structural collapse Monday morning, officials said.
Crews responded to the small apartment building, located at 2350 Palm Ave., across from Hialeah Park Casino, at around 10 a.m.
The damage appeared to stem from the underside of a second-floor exterior walkway.
It came crashing to the ground, but no one was hurt.
Mariela Campos, who lives in the building, said she noticed large cracks on the underside of the second-floor exterior walkway, went inside to take a shower and then heard the walkway collapse.
Speaking to local reporters in Spanish, she said she ran outside in her flip-flops and saw the damage. Soon after, first responders began to evacuate the building.
“Thank God some of the elderly people, or the young lady with her child weren’t outside when this happened,” Hialeah Mayor Esteban Bovo said. “It looks like a heavy structure that fell down and it could’ve been catastrophic, so from that we count our blessings.”
Families living in all 15 units have been evacuated.
The American Red Cross is assisting the displaced families.
“We’re working on trying to get the families that are displaced a place to stay,” Hialeah Fire Department District Chief David Rodriguez said. “The owner is also here, so everyone is trying to work together to try to figure out what happened and how this situation is going to get rectified.”
Bovo said the six-decade-old building is well-maintained and passed a recertification in 2018.
“Clearly, there is some damage here that either happened since that certification or just wasn’t caught at the certification and that’s something that we’re going to be looking at in our building department,” he said.
Bovo said he will be working with Miami-Dade County to see if more needs to be done for older buildings.
“Maybe there should be another level of inspection, because as time goes by, these buildings become, their life expectancy, you need to keep giving it tender loving care,” he said.