Florida condo building evacuated near deadly collapse
Apr 24, 2023, 2:33 PM
NORTH BAY VILLAGE, Fla. (AP) — Residents of a South Florida waterfront condominium that was deemed unsafe during a recent inspection have until Tuesday morning to evacuate.
A building engineer conducting an inspection on April 14 for the Majestic Isle condominium’s required 60-year certification found sagging floors and termite damage, North Bay Village officials said. The village is located in Biscayne Bay, along a causeway that connects Miami and Miami Beach. It’s also just a few miles from the town of Surfside, where 98 people died in June 2021 when an 12-story oceanfront building collapsed.
“North Bay Village and the community are stepping up to help displaced residents until they can come back home,” North Bay Village Mayor Brent Latham said in a statement. “We are here for the affected residents for as long as they need us, to help see them through this difficult time.”
A roof drain leak at Majestic Isle, which was built in 1960, caused a partial ceiling collapse earlier this month, prompting the evacuation of five of the three-story building’s 36 units, village officials said in a news release. After receiving the engineering report last week, North Bay Village officials announced that all of the building’s 55 residents would need to leave.
Residents have been able to move light items out of their units over the past week. Officials didn’t have a timeline for when residents would be able to return home or move furniture and bigger items out completely.
Village officials were hosting a meeting Monday evening to discuss the evacuation. The village has also set up a fundraiser to help displaced residents.
A telephone number listed for the condo association was no longer in service.
The Surfside disaster drew the largest non-hurricane emergency response in Florida history, including rescue crews from across the U.S. and as far away as Israel to help local teams search for victims.
Other buildings in South Florida have been evacuated amid similar safety concerns since the Surfside collapse.
The disaster focused scrutiny on the structural integrity of aging condominium towers throughout Florida, especially along its coastlines. The state has since moved to strengthen laws requiring inspections and periodic recertification of buildings.
Miami-Dade County had required the first recertification only after 40 years. The Surfside building was undergoing that recertification process when it collapsed.
New state rules signed into law last year require buildings to have their first recertification after 30 years, or 25 if they are within 3 miles (5 kilometers) of the coast, and then every 10 years thereafter.