Miami Residents Evacuated Overnight After Officials Find Building Unsafe

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Residents of an eight-story, Miami apartment complex were forced to evacuate overnight after local officials deemed the structure unsafe, only a month after the deadly collapse of the Champlain Towers South condo in Surfside, Fla.

“We obviously don’t feel that it’s safe,” Miami building director Asael “Ace” Marrero told NBC Miami. Videos and pictures show residents lugging out personal belongings in suitcases and plastic bags. 

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Constructed in 1973, the 137-unit condo building, located at 5050 NW 7th Street, sits just south of Miami International Airport in the working-class neighborhood of Flagami.

In the wake of Champlain Towers South’s tragic collapse in June, cities in Miami-Dade County have stepped up building inspections, and several residential buildings in Miami Beach have been evacuated.

The Flagami building had failed to pass a safety inspection required of buildings that are 40 years old, the Miami Herald reported. The building is almost 50 years old and, according to regulations, should have passed its first safety check back in 2013. On July 7, officials put the building on notice for several violations, per the Herald

City staff inspected the premises in late July and found damaged columns on the first floor, which “required emergency shoring,” according to the Herald. But city officials say they never received a renovation plan. Last Thursday, a structural engineer sent a letter to them, saying the “building was safe for current occupancy while the emergency repair work continued.” 

On Monday, Miami’s building department officials inspected the property and once again “found the columns to be structurally insufficient.” Shortly after, officials issued an evacuation order. At the time of collapse, Champlain Towers South was undergoing work on its roof. 

Since the collapse of Champlain Towers South, which killed 98 people, other residential complexes have come under scrutiny. Last month, the 10-story Crestview Towers in North Miami Beach was evacuated and the roof of Lakeview Gardens partially collapsed. No injuries or deaths were reported. 

A Miami-Dade representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Julia Echikson can be reached at jechikson@commercialobserver.com.