Surfside inspector was on roof of condo hours before collapse

Surfside City Construction Officer was 14 hours before half of the building collapsed on the rooftop of the beachfront condominium.

Jim McGuinness said during an emergency meeting that he was on the roof reviewing work on replacing roof anchors used by window cleaners to secure their equipment, the Palm Beach Post reported.

Hours after his inspection of the roof of Champlain Towers South around 1:30 a.m. Thursday, a leg of the L-shaped 12-story tower collapsed, killing at least four people and leaving at least 159 missing. Rescuers had little luck combing the pile for survivors, and no one has been found alive since Thursday morning.

“There was not an inordinate amount of equipment or material or anything on this roof that would grab my site official’s attention and make it alarming that this place should collapse,” McGunniess said during the Friday afternoon session.

A photo from a 2018 inspection survey. Some residents of the sister tower, Champlain Towers North, asked officials if their building was secure.A photo from a 2018 inspection survey. Some residents of the sister tower, Champlain Towers North, asked officials if their building was secure.

“I have two words for the cause of this: is being investigated.”

The city commission also said during the meeting that it is looking at what can be done to ensure the safety of other high-rise buildings. That likely means inspecting buildings, including the sister tower of the collapsed tower, which was also built in 1981.

“It would be unwise not to take steps to address this issue with the sister building,” Mayor Charles Burkett said during the meeting.

Apartment collapse in MiamiA photo from a 2018 inspection. Surfside City Construction Officer said there was nothing on this roof that caught my construction official’s eye that would make it alarming for this place to collapse.

Some residents of the other building, Champlain Towers North, have asked officials if their building is safe and the city is considering moving them out even if it’s not convenient.

“But since we have no idea what caused this collapse – and listen, the likelihood of this happening again is like a lightning strike – but I don’t know if there is anyone in this room who would be willing to roll the dice with all these lives and say let’s not worry for a while, ”he said.

A commissioner at the meeting said the city needs to increase requirements for its recertification process, which now includes a series of inspections that each building must perform every 40 years. The collapsed tower was in the middle of this process.

Surfside condo collapseFirefighters battle a fire Friday as rescue workers search rubble in the 12-story oceanfront condominium.AP

McGuinness agreed. “Hurricane Andrew changed Florida building codes forever,” he said, reported ABC News. “So this terrible tragedy, which is a national tragedy, will change the building codes related to certification.”

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