Building official was on roof of Surfside condominium only hours before collapse

(NEXSTAR) – The Surfside, Florida construction official said he was only 14 hours on the roof of Champlain Towers South before it collapsed Thursday.

Jim McGuinness said at an emergency meeting Friday that he was inspecting work on the building’s roof anchors used by window cleaning teams, the Palm Beach Post reported. McGuinness added that he saw nothing of concern at the time, including no “negligible amount of equipment” that might have raised red flags.

However, after the collapse, he believes Thursday’s tragedy will change inspection processes and building codes across the county, if not the country.

“Hurricane Andrew changed Florida building codes forever, so this terrible tragedy, which is a national tragedy, is going to change building codes regarding certification,” McGuinness said, the Post reported.

Rescue workers are still looking for signs of survivors at the site of the collapse, despite a fire burning in the rubble, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said at a press conference Saturday morning. No other survivors have been found since the previous briefing. A total of 127 people were recorded, 159 are still unexplained and 4 have been confirmed dead.

The mayor added at the meeting on Saturday that buildings in Miami-Dade that are over 40 years old will be audited and recertified within the next 30 days.

As of Saturday morning, 127 people were recorded, 159 are still missing and 4 were confirmed dead after the collapse. (AP photo / Gerald Herbert)

In Miami-Dade, third-party engineers are currently required to inspect buildings that are more than 40 years old. At the emergency meeting on Friday, McGuinness said the south tower had just undergone such an inspection, although the results had not yet been communicated to the city, the Post reported.

A 2018 technical report, meanwhile, showed the oceanfront condominium building had “major structural damage” to a concrete structural slab under its pool deck, although it is unclear whether that particular damage contributed to Thursday’s collapse, Associated Press reported.

The cause of the collapse is still undetermined, but a “full and thorough” investigation by federal, state and local investigators is ongoing, Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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