The city of North Miami Beach ordered the evacuation of a condominium building Friday after a review found unsafe conditions about five miles from the site of last week’s deadly collapse in South Florida. An audit prompted by the collapse of Champlain Towers South in nearby Surfside found that the 156-unit Crestview Towers had been deemed structurally and electrically unsafe months ago, the city said in a news release.
“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,” City Manager Arthur H. Sorey III said in the news release.
The evacuation comes as municipal officials in South Florida, and statewide, are scrutinizing older high-rises in the wake of the Surfside collapse to ensure that substantial structural problems are not being ignored.
North Miami Beach commissioner Fortuna Smukler rushed to the building Friday afternoon. She said authorities were working to help the evacuated residents find places to go. She said with the approaching storm it was an especially stressful time for the residents. Smukler knows two people who are still unaccounted for in the Surfside building collapse.
“I ran here right away because this is important to me. I needed to ensure that what happened in Surfside doesn’t happen here,” she said. “It could have been our building instead of Surfside.”
The mayor of Miami-Dade County had suggested an audit of buildings 40 years and older to make sure they are in compliance with the local recertification process after the condo building collapse last week that killed at least 22 people and left more than 120 still missing.