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Fire Complicates Rescue Efforts, 2018 Report Detailed Vital Repairs Were Needed in Surfside Condo Building

 The Champlain Towers South condo building partially collapsed on June 24, 2021.
The Champlain Towers South condo building partially collapsed on June 24, 2021.

Photos in the 2018 report also detail complaints from residents about flooding in their unit during a hurricane. Another photo shows cracks in concrete.

Surfside officials have released a nine-page structural engineering report by Morabito Consultants, Inc. that detailed extensive problems and repairs needed at the Champlain Towers South condo building.

One major problem in the October 2018 report was found under the pool deck.

“The waterproofing below the pool deck and entrance drive needed to be replaced completely. The failed waterproofing is causing major structural damage to the concrete structural slab below these areas. Failure to replace the waterproofing in the future will cause the extent of the concrete deterioration to expand exponentially.”

The 12-story building with 136 units partially collapsed early on Thursday morning. Officials say the number of people missing is 156; 130 people have been accounted for. Five people are confirmed dead after another deceased person was found in the rubble on Saturday.

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Thick smoke from a fire inside the rubble has been complicating rescue efforts.

"We're facing very incredible difficulties with this fire," said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava. "It is hampering our search efforts. It spread laterally throughout the pile." She says the source of the fire has not yet been located.

Photos in the 2018 report also detail complaints from residents about flooding in their unit during a hurricane. Another photo shows cracks in concrete.

Ileana Monteagudo lived in the building and said she noticed a crack on the wall when she unexpectedly woke up shortly before the collapse. She said she knew she had to run out to save her life. Her unit and car are completely destroyed.

" I am left with nothing — well, with my life, thank God, but it's hard to find yourself with nothing," Monteagudo said.

In an interview Saturday morning with NPR host Leila Fadel, Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said another building nearby was constructed by the same builder, and now they're looking at that building.

“I'm concerned because we have an identical building built by the same builder, maybe with the same materials, maybe with the same plans, just one building away," he said. "And we're taking steps right now … potentially evacuating that building so we can get in there and do a forensic investigation on the status of that particular structure.”
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