159 Missing in Miami: How could a 12-story building collapse?
“People have a right to know,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said Friday (local time). “It should soon become clear if this is a bigger problem, or if something is wrong with the building.”
It emerged Saturday that an engineer had already warned of “significant structural damage” to the building three years ago. Newspaper New York times See a report describing extensive damage to the concrete foundation under the pool, and an abundance of cracks and cracks in the columns, beams and walls in the parking lot below the pool. This damage was probably caused by years of exposure to salty sea air along the coast.
At the time, architect Frank Morabita urged the building’s management to make quick repairs. His report was used to develop a reform project that would cost millions of euros, and was due to start soon – more than 2.5 years after the management warned.
Investigators to determine the cause of the disaster do not have full access to the site. Experts say it would take months to explore all possible scenarios: looking at individual building components now buried in rubble, testing concrete, and examining the ground to determine if there was another ditch or subsidence that might be related to the collapse.
Big pieces of rubble
Rescue teams meanwhile work on unsettled mounds of burning concrete and steel, hoping to find survivors. It is a delicate work to be done in the heat and in heavy rain. Heavy machinery carefully lifts large chunks of rubble to provide rescuers with new entrances into the rubble.
It is not known how many people were in the building when it fell, but US media referred to the complex as the “microcosm” of multicultural Miami. Among the missing are residents from several Latin American countries such as Argentina, Cuba, Venezuela and Colombia, as well as several Israelis. According to the residents, every December there was a Christmas tree and a menorah (seven-armed candelabra) in the hallway. “This was a model of the open-minded society in these towers,” said Rabbi Elliot Berelson of one of the five synagogues within walking distance of the building. Washington Post.
Meanwhile, hundreds of people are waiting for news of their missing loved ones at a center set up for them. One of the dead has been identified so far: Stacey Fang, a mother of a 15-year-old boy who was pulled alive from the rubble. Others have no idea if their fathers, mothers, children, brothers, sisters, or friends who live in the 55 destroyed apartments are still alive.
But the locals are also panicking. At an emergency city council meeting, officials said residents called them in to question whether the building was safe, and called for a thorough inspection of all apartment complexes in the area that are more than six stories and 40 years old. The building that fell.
Surfside mayor Charles Burkett said there was no immediate evidence that other buildings were in danger, but that people were being considered for evacuation from surrounding compounds – although many residents had already chosen to leave on their own.
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