‘Major structural damage’ reported three years ago on collapsed Miami condominium

The tragedy that unfolded recently involving the total collapse of a 12-story condominium in Miami, Florida has dominated headlines, as search-and-rescue crews desperately attempt to find hundreds of unaccounted-for residents of the building.

As the Washington Examiner reported, in an October 2018 report, engineering consultant Frank Morabito noted that the building had “major structural damage” in a report released by the city a day after the massive condominium collapsed, which has so far resulted in multiple fatalities and hundreds of missing residents. 

The bombshell report

Morabito specifically pointed to the concrete slabs below Champlain Towers South pool deck as suffering from structural damage, adding that the columns showed signs of “abundant” cracking.

He went on to write that the waterproofing under the pool deck was the culprit, adding that the “failure to replace the waterproofing in the near future will cause the extent of the concrete deterioration to expand exponentially.”

“Though some of this damage is minor, most of the concrete deterioration needs to be repaired in a timely fashion,” the engineer wrote, adding that the repairs should be made in the name of “maintaining the structural integrity” of the condo.

“These documents will enable the Condominium Board to adequately assess the overall condition of the building, notify tenants on how they may be affected, and provide a safe and functional infrastructure for the future,” Morabito wrote, though he didn’t specifically warn of the possibility of the building’s collapse, in so many words.

The repairs noted in Morabito’s report were reportedly scheduled to take place sometime later in 2021, a decision that would ultimately prove to be too late to avoid a catastrophic, deadly disaster.

Survivor climbs to safety with her dog

Though additional bad news concerning survivors will almost certainly emerge in the coming days, there have been some uplifting and encouraging stories reported, including from condo resident Sharon Schechter, who was able to climb to safety after the collapse, in the dark, with her dog in tow, according to Local10.

Schechter said she was woken by the partial collapse of the building, and when she decided to escape prior to the possibility of the remainder of the building collapsing, she quickly found that the exits led to piles of rubble.

“We were screaming, ‘Help! Come get us! We are here! Come get us!” Schechter said, quickly realizing she was on her own. “It was pitch black … We are finding our way out until we get to some light.”

Though she left everything behind, aside from her beloved dog, Schecter considered herself extremely lucky to be able to climb out of the rubble and be rescued. She believes she’s one of only two residents of her floor that survived the nightmarish scenario.

Only time will tell what federal officials determine to be the cause of the collapse, but if it’s even remotely connected to Morabito’s warnings in his 2018 assessment, the owners of Champlain Towers South will likely soon face a cascade of wrongful death legal challenges.

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