Hundreds of Miami residents were forced from their eight-story condo building on Monday night after city officials determined the structure was unsafe.
The 137-unit building at 5050 NW Seventh St. was placed under an evacuation order, according to Miami building director Asael “Ace” Marrero, NBC Miami reported.
“We obviously don’t feel that it’s safe,” he told the news station. “Structural integrity has been degraded by the contractor proceeding with the repairs that they were not authorized to do.”
Before the evacuation notice on Monday, city officials said the building had been placed on the unsafe structure list in May based on images of property damage. The condominium was also found to be non-compliant with the city’s recertification process.
On July 26, city officials, including Marrero, met with residents over concerns about the “condition of the building,” according to the Miami Herald. City inspectors visited the building the next day and determined that the garage had to be closed because of structural concerns.
Officials told the newspaper that the property manager was asked to submit a plan to fix columns in the first floor of its building, but it never received such plans nor did the building apply for a work permit to do repairs.
On Thursday, the city said an engineer sent a letter to officials saying the “building was safe for current occupancy while the emergency repair work continued,” the Miami Herald reported.
Marrero said inspectors visited the property Monday and determined that the repair was “not adequate for the support” of its columns. The inspection, he said, prompted the city to order residents to vacate the building.
“We have a lot of elderly owners here that have no place to go,” resident Dmidry Asanov said. “Some have Covid, some can’t walk.”
The city is working with residents to help them with temporary housing, Marrero said.
The building was scheduled to be part of a hearing at a city unsafe structure panel on Aug. 20.
The building’s condominium association did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
Since the partial collapse of Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Florida, which left 98 people dead, officials have sought to review the structural integrity of buildings. The tragedy spurred the city of Miami Beach to immediately order building inspections.
Last month, the Crestview Towers Condominium in North Miami Beach was evacuated after building officials determined it was unsafe. A fire was put out in the 156-unit building on Monday. Authorities said no injuries were immediately reported and the cause of the fire had not been determined.
Wilson Wong is a breaking news reporter with NBC News.