July 3 (UPI) — North Miami Beach has evacuated a condo deemed unsafe after a review following the deadly high-rise condo collapse in Surfside, Fla.
An engineer retained by the condo association board concluded in a Jan. 11 recertification report the 156-unit Crestview Towers building in North Miami Beach was “structurally and electrically unsafe,” the city said in a statement on the evacuation.
The report was submitted Friday after the city ordered a review of all condo high-rise buildings above five stories to determine if they were in compliance with the 40-year recertification process in the wake of the June 24 collapse of Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Fla.
Based on the report, the city’s building official deemed the Crestview Towers building “unsafe” and ordered immediate evacuation of all residents.
Crestview Towers is less than 7 miles away from the Champlain Towers South where the death toll from the June 24 collapse rose to 22 Friday and 126 remain unaccounted for.
“As you all know, this building has become unsafe,” North Miami Beach Police Chief Richard Rand told residents in the parking lot as they evacuated the building Friday, The New York Times reported. “The last thing I want to do is need to find out that another building collapse and multiple people are dead.”
The evacuation comes amid Category 1 Hurricane Elsa forming and forecast to make landfall in South Florida early next week though forecasters say it may weaken over or near Cuba Sunday into Monday.
“The city is working with the American Red Cross to find temporary shelter for displaced residents who do not have somewhere else to stay,” according to the city’s statement.
“In an abundance of caution, the city ordered the building closed immediately and the residents evacuated for their protection, while a full structural assessment is conducted and next steps are determined,” North Miami Beach City Manager Arthur Sorey, III said in the statement. “Nothing is more important than the safety and lives of our residents, and we will not rest until we ensure this building is 100% safe.”