SURFSIDE, Fla. – Federal investigators who are searching for answers about what caused the 12-story Champlain Towers South building to collapse — killing 98 people on June 24, 2021, in Surfside — recently took over a second larger warehouse to store evidence.
A team of scientists and engineers have narrowed down their focus on hundreds of pieces of steel-reinforced concrete, The National Institute of Standards and Technology announced on Wednesday.
Christopher Segura, the engineer who is the co-leader for the evidence preservation project, said the original storage warehouse wasn’t really safe for them to work in as they needed to collecting samples of the rebar.
“We are very close now to collecting the samples and being able to start testing samples that we collect and get critical data for this investigation that we have just waited months for,” Segura said in a recorded statement.
NIST, a U.S. Department of Commerce agency, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were working on testing the concrete cores and steel reinforcing bar samples to evaluate aspects such as integrity, durability, and deterioration.
“These properties will be used in our computer simulation models of the building failure,” Glenn Bell, co-lead of the investigation, said in a statement adding that they will also use the data to build “mock-ups of building components to use as test specimens.”
Marisa McCormick, who supports the investigation’s evidence preservation and material science projects, said the team is working to put together the puzzle about where each piece of concrete came from in the building.
“We will be able to explain to people what happened with the building and how we can make sure that this kind of thing doesn’t happen again,” McCormick said in a recorded statement.
The team aims to complete their investigation next year in preparation for the release of their recommendations in 2025. David G. Goodwin Jr., a research chemist who co-leads the evidence preservation project, said the process takes time.
“Our team wants to provide the families closure,” Goodwin said in a statement. “We don’t want to miss something. We have to be as careful as possible.”
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