'Unsafe structure' tag worry Maison Grande Condo residents after Surfside building collapse

Several residents living in the 18-story building with 502 units, situated at 6039 Collins Avenue, told news outlets that they were worried about being safe


                            'Unsafe structure' tag worry Maison Grande Condo residents after Surfside building collapse
People look at a portion of the 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building that partially collapsed on June 24, 2021 in Surfside, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

After the northern section of an L-shaped, 12-story building in Surfside, South Florida, collapsed on June 24, killing 11 so far, with 150 people unaccounted for, some residents of ocean-side apartments in the area have been living in constant fear of the structural integrity of their condominiums. One such location was Maison Grande Condominium, a Collins Avenue building in Miami Beach. 

In the wake of the Surfside tragedy, several residents living in the 18-story building with 502 units, situated at 6039 Collins Avenue, told Local 10 that they were worried about being safe. Photographs of the 1971 building showed corroded steel and concrete spalling, according to the residents. So far, there have been five inspections that determined the building as having an “unsafe structure.” On November 19, 2020, a city official wrote, “Structure with evidence of spalling concrete. Need to submit a report signed and sealed by [an] engineer to evaluate the structure together with methods of repairs.”



 

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A red “unsafe structure” violation notice dated December 28, 2020, has been placed near an entrance of Maison Grande Condominium. The enveloping of the building has raised quite a few eyebrows. Also causes for concern were the two-story parking garage and pool deck, which were warned to have “have reached the end of their useful life and require repair, replacement,” or “a combination thereof.”

Why did the Surfside condo collapse?

Following the collapse of the Champlain Towers South, at 8777 Collins Avenue, many of the residents of the Champlain Towers North and East decided to evacuate. People living in the neighboring buildings at the time of the tragedy said they woke up to loud noise. They found their windows shaking and there was a large puff of white dust in the area. The search and rescue mission at the site has reached its fifth day as emergency workers comb through piles of rubble and debris in the hopes of finding survivors. Rescue dogs have also been deployed as they start sniffing the scattered ruins. Experts have been called in from Israel and Argentina. 

Search and rescue personnel work in the rubble of the 12-story condo tower that crumbled to the ground after a partial collapse of the building on June 24, 2021 in Surfside, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

People wondered how such a mishap could have been possible in Florida, where deadly hurricanes have over the years, forced officials to increase structural standards. A 2018 report claimed that engineers had reported there was structural damage at Champlain Towers South. The collapse happened even as property owners had pledged more than $9 million in projects to improve the living condition of the people there. Recertification of the 1981 building was undergoing at the time of the collapse. The recertification is required every 40 years and was to be approved only after every inch of the condo was scrutinized and found habitable. 

Following the Surfside condo collapse, a lawsuit has been filed against the Champlain Towers South Condominium Association by the survivors of the tragedy. The suit alleges that there was negligence on part of the property owners, and lack of maintenance led to the degradation of the building that caused the collapse. “It’s sad. And people ask me, ‘Where are you going to go? Where are you going to be?’ Well, for sure I am not getting a condo on the beach. That’s done,” said Steve Rosenthal, a survivor from Unit 705, who is one of the plaintiffs. 

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