Evacuated Florida building near collapsed condo reportedly deemed safe

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A Florida high-rise about five miles from the collapsed condo building has now been deemed safe for occupancy — after residents were ordered to evacuate amid structural concerns.

On Friday, North Miami Beach Building Department officials said the 156-unit Crestview Towers was structurally and electrically unsafe, and ordered residents to leave as a “precautionary measure.”

The building went up in 1972, nine years prior to the Champlain Towers South, which collapsed in Surfside on June 24. The death toll in the tragedy stands at 24, with 121 people still unaccounted for.

The Crestview Towers’ condo association has received an engineer’s report saying the building is safe, WPLG reported, citing the group’s attorney, Mariel Tollinchi. The report will reportedly be submitted to North Miami Beach officials on Tuesday.

The building had been evacuated due to an “unsafe” warning from an engineer on Jan. 11, but Tollinchi said the report was very vague, according to the news outlet.

“A subsequent inspection was had of the building recently and an unofficial report was released by that engineer saying that the building is actually safe for occupancy and that the repairs on the structure and electrical can be done with the residents there,” she told WPLG.

She said repairs had been delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic and also due to the need to have original parts.  

About 300 residents had been ordered to evacuate by midnight Friday. Some of them learned about the order as they were coming home from work — and 150 didn’t have a place to go, according the WPLG.

The city manager of North Miami Beach last week ordered an audit of buildings older than 40 years to make sure they adhered to local recertification mandates in the wake of the catastrophe in Surfside.

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