Are Towers of Key Biscayne safe? Video shows huge crack in condo garage ceiling near Surfside
A TikTok video showed a crack in the garage ceiling of Towers of Key Biscayne, causing panic, and the authorities said they're looking into it
As the tragedy in Surfside, Florida, continues to unfold following the June 24 collapse of a condominium that has so far caused the death of at least 18 people, barely thirty minutes away, another structure’s cracks are causing distress. As per a news report, the Village Manager of Key Biscayne, an island town in Miami-Dade County, says he has taken action after a new video on social media shows a long crack in the ceiling of a parking garage beneath a condominium building.
A video, originally shared on TikTok, shows the ceiling crack in one of the garages underneath one of the two Towers of Key Biscayne, located at the south end of the island. They were built in 1971 and 1972. The video that has since been shared across social media platforms has gotten people worrying about the safety of the structure.
‘This is a common occurrence all over Miami’
The video soon went viral and many started talking about it online. “This is at Key Biscayne Towers,” tweeted a person. “I just know more are like this too, and that's terrifying.” Another person tweeted, “It's the Key Biscayne Towers...looks like they might be following in Surfside's footsteps.” One person said, “This is Key Biscayne Towers in Miami. Like I said in a previous post, this is a common occurrence all over Miami & nearby cities. Dozens of bldgs there should be condemned.”
This is at Key Biscayne Towers 😩— Sunburnt (@Sunburnt_taylor) June 30, 2021
I just know more are like this too, and that's terrifying https://t.co/gNUMaKtBaz
It's the Key Biscayne Towers...looks like they might be following in Surfside's footsteps.— ★彡BreitERbart ★彡 (@breiterbart) June 30, 2021
This is Key Biscayne Towers in Miami. Like I said in a previous post, this is a common occurrence all over Miami & nearby cities. Dozens of bldgs there should be condemned. https://t.co/UDYPl1xBYI— Isandra Gonzalez (@isag22) June 30, 2021
A resident of one of the Towers, who identified only by her first name Annie, told CBS News, “I am a little nervous but I am pretty sure that management here is going to take care of it. I want to know if the problem has been evaluated and assessed. I know that the management sent out an assessment report to residents here. I have two young children and I want to make sure they are safe.”
Veronica Scharf García, who ran for Council Woman of Key Biscayne in 2006, wrote to the Islander News raising questions about the towers. Her concerns were published in the Letters to the Editor section. She said, “I lived in Key Biscayne for many years. I remember somebody saying ‘Do not buy a condo in the Towers as there is something going on with the building’s foundation.’ I don’t know if this was a rumor, or perhaps I misunderstood what I heard. This also was over 11 years ago, but I wanted to share it with you.”
Nelly Tedone, a resident of the Towers of Key Biscayne, said that some of the residents there have been panicking. “I live on the first floor,” Tedone told a local ABC News affiliate. “The building is old.”
'This is something we need to look into'
A Village Manager is the chief executive officer and administrative head of the village, with the responsibility of planning, organizing, directing, staffing, coordinating and budgeting for programs and services. The Village Manager is responsible for providing and exercising supervision and disciplinary control over the necessary administrative and operating staff in conjunction with official Village Council policies.
Steve Williamson, the Village Manager at Key Biscayne, said, “I have seen the video myself and we have passed it on to our team and then our structural team will go through this with very good technical experts. Obviously, this is something we need to look into and we are going to reach out to the property owner and figure out which is the next way ahead.”
Williamson, however, said that it was too early to say if there was a safety risk at the Towers of Key Biscayne. He said, “Our responsibility is as a government entity with oversight. The property owner is ultimately responsible and we are going to work with them. We are going to make sure they’re working with the engineers to make sure they are meeting the Florida building code.”
Williamson said that the Village has 88 buildings and he has been compiling a detailed list of properties that have had their recertifications or are coming due for them. “We have eight buildings pending for 40-year recertifications and we have four registered for 50-year certifications, three for 60 years, two for 70 years.” He also said, “Safety is always a concern. In the end, building safety is important and as we have seen in Surfside — our hearts go out to everyone out there. In the end, it is about the safety of people and we want to make sure people out there are safe and sound.”
The general manager of the Towers of Key Biscayne said in a press statement, “The video showed an expansion joint and was not a ‘red flag’ issue.” The statement added, “This is the ceiling garage which is towards the foundation which is not good. That’s what holds up a building. It’s not very nice but this building has been here a while and is well built I can tell.” A local ABC News affiliate reported that following the viral video, a structural engineer and the fire chief also showed up to investigate. The engineer reportedly determined the building was safe.