Surfside Collapse Leads to Scrutiny of Miami Buildings


Piles of waste from drywall rubble, debris from furniture and personal belongings, and gray concrete smashed into dust surround collapsed buildings. These are not meant to be common occurrences, especially considering the supposed safety standards during construction.

On June 24th, a condo at Surfside, Florida, partially crumpled. Ninety-six perished from the initial fall, and another died at a hospital. To recover more people, controlled implosions were utilized in Champlain Towers South to expand the search closer to the part of the building still standing (only dust fell onto the existing pile). Rescuers attempted to find pets before the demolition took place, so they inspected hazardous locations, placed traps (on balconies), and opened doors to give them the best chance at survival.

Prior to the demolition, somebody tried to obtain a court order to enter the building and collect Coco the cat (believed to be on the fourth floor), but it was denied by Judge Hanzman.

Ever since then, Miami buildings have come under scrutiny. The more recent 138-unit building on Seventh Street in the Flagami neighborhood, south of Blue Lagoon and Miami International Airport, was evacuated due to safety concerns. This structure failed to obtain its 40-year recertification (which Surfside was undergoing when it collapsed), so another catastrophe may have been prevented.

Lakeview Gardens, a 47-year-old building, while at first passed its 40-year certification, had chunks of its overhang crumble. Nobody was injured; however, it is unclear when residents will be permitted back in, and those living in the neighboring structure are also concerned. A sign stating “unsafe building” is taped to their wall.

Structures must be properly built during construction and upkept throughout the timespan it harbors residents. Surfside was one, albeit extreme, example of a failing building. Additionally, safety checks should be thorough so the issue in Lakeview Gardens does not repeat. It is important to protect the people and for owners of Miami buildings (and major cities) to take preventative measures ensuring their structural integrity (rather than clearing a place as it gradually deteriorates).