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Debris from Panorama Tower rains down on Brickell Avenue

Piece of balcony falls on hood of Local 10 News reporter Todd Tongen's minivan

MIAMI – Just when they thought they were safe from Hurricane Irma's powerful winds, Local 10 News reporter Todd Tongen and photojournalist Bob Palumbo got a big surprise Sunday just before they set up for a live report.

Large pieces of debris began raining down on Brickell Avenue.

A 6-foot piece of aluminum and impact glass balcony fell onto their minivan from the Panorama Tower. Based on markings on the framework, the large piece of twisted metal and glass came from the 41st floor.

Tongen and Palombo saw three people who were walking along Brickell Avenue get hit on the head by a large piece of Sheetrock. They ran inside their building while Tongen and Palombo sat in their vehicle and watched the debris fall on the hood of their minivan.

Residents in nearby buildings said construction debris began falling from the skyscraper about 8 a.m.

"It looks like a balcony door," one resident told Local 10 News.

Some Brickell residents narrowly avoided being hit by a large piece of debris that fell from the Panorama Tower.
Some Brickell residents narrowly avoided being hit by a large piece of debris that fell from the Panorama Tower.

They weren't the only ones with a dangerous near-miss.

Another man told Local 10 they saw a large piece of plywood fall next to a man who had just gotten out of his truck.

"Did he get back in his truck?" Tongen asked.

"He did, yeah," the witness said. "He jumped right back in it."

The winds were so powerful that the siding on a parking garage on Northeast 14th Street off Biscayne Boulevard was being pulled off.