UNITED STATES NEWS

Probe of Florida building collapse that killed 98 to be completed by June 2025, US investigators say

Sep 7, 2023, 10:30 AM

The probe into the 2021 collapse of a beachfront condominium building that killed 98 people in South Florida should be completed by the fourth anniversary of the disaster, federal officials said Thursday.

The investigation led by the National Institute of Standards & Technology is looking into two dozen different scenarios that could explain why the 12-story Champlain Towers South building in Surfside, Florida, abruptly failed early in the morning of June 24, 2021, they said. Surfside is a suburb north of Miami.

“We’re still not prepared to close the door on any of them yet,” said Glenn Bell, associate team lead of the Champlain Towers probe. “We are still testing, testing, testing.”

Bell told a meeting of NIST’s National Construction Safety Team Advisory Committee on Thursday that most of the intensive work on such things as concrete core samples, corrosion in reinforcing bars and evidence of subpar construction in the 40-year-old building will be done by next spring, followed by a final report and recommendations by June 2025.

“We are driving hard now to complete this investigation by the fourth anniversary of the collapse. This investigation is one of the most complex and challenging of its type ever undertaken,” he said.

Much attention has focused on the pool deck, which investigators previously said failed to comply with the original building codes and standards, with many areas of severe strength deficiency that likely contributed to the disaster. Officials said Thursday the pool area remains a central focus, along with the garage beneath it.

“The interaction of the pool deck and the tower is really important in the progression of the collapse,” Bell said.

There also were studies done on the ground underneath the building to determine whether sinkholes, underground voids or soil irregularities might have played a role. Investigators have not found evidence that was a factor.

Judith Mitrani-Reiser, the Champlain Towers investigative team lead, said 24 computer hard drives have been recovered that might have video or other evidence that could help explain what happened. Photos were shown at Thursday’s meeting of a seventh-floor unit where a video camera on a table captured some debris falling from above before the building collapsed.

That kind of evidence is invaluable, she said.

“The information from the public has been just an amazing asset to our investigation,” Mitrani-Reiser said. “A different angle would really be tremendous. We are really at the mercy of what we can find.”

Meanwhile, at the site in Surfside, Dubai-based DAMAC International, plans to construct a building with 57 units ranging in size from 4,000 to 9,000 square feet (360 to 810 square meters). The luxury building would include a business center, event space and two pools, according to plans submitted to Surfside.

A judge last June approved a settlement topping $1 billion for victims of the Champlain Towers South collapse, one of the worst building failures in U.S. history.

The money comes from 37 different sources, including insurance companies, engineering firms and a luxury condominium whose recent construction next door is suspected of contributing to structural damage of Champlain Towers South. None of the parties admit any wrongdoing.

Plans are also still in the works for a permanent memorial to the victims.

United States News

Associated Press

3 falcon chicks hatch atop the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge in New York City

NEW YORK (AP) — Three peregrine falcon chicks have hatched in a nest built at the top of the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge in New York City, officials said. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority Bridges and Tunnels said Friday that the chicks hatched in a nesting box set up by the agency atop a 693-foot-tall (211-meter-tall) tower on […]

8 hours ago

Associated Press

Baltimore police fatally shoot a man who pulls gun during questioning; detective injured

BALTIMORE (AP) — Police officers in Baltimore fatally shot a man who pulled a gun while they questioned him in a different shooting, authorities said. A detective was shot in the chest, and his protective vest likely saved his life, Police Commissioner Richard Worley told reporters. Police were on the city’s south side investigating a […]

9 hours ago

Associated Press

California teenager arrested after crowd pounded and kicked a deputy’s car

HIGHLAND, Calif. (AP) — A teenager was taken into custody after a crowd of young people swarmed a deputy’s patrol car earlier this month, kicking and punching the vehicle before the deputy could drive away, a California sheriff’s office said this week. The 15-year-old male allegedly opened the driver’s door of the San Bernardino Sheriff’s […]

9 hours ago

Travelers walk through Salt Lake City International Airport Friday, May 24, 2024, in Salt Lake City...

Associated Press

Record broken for most travelers screened at US airports on Friday, according to TSA

A record was broken ahead of the Memorial Day weekend for the number of airline travelers screened at U.S. airports.

11 hours ago

Associated Press

Biden’s message to West Point graduates: You’re being asked to tackle threats ‘like none before’

WEST POINT, N.Y. (AP) — President Joe Biden on Saturday told graduates of the U.S. Military Academy that their class is being called upon to tackle threats across the globe and preserve the country’s ideals at home “like none before.” Biden said the phrase, the class motto, was apt for the sorts of challenges they […]

13 hours ago

Associated Press

Tornado warning issued for parts of Oklahoma amid severe storms as heat scorches South Texas

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Scattered severe storms continued in Oklahoma and forecasters issued a tornado warning for some parts of the state Saturday night, as some heat records were broken during the day in South Texas and people were warned of triple-digit temperatures over the long holiday weekend. The National Weather Service’s office in Norman, […]

15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

Probe of Florida building collapse that killed 98 to be completed by June 2025, US investigators say