Deadly Building Collapse Fuels Calls for Change

Deadly Building Collapse Fuels Calls for Change

( – On June 24, disaster struck the Champlain Towers South condominiums in Surfside, Florida. The floors of the L-shaped building pancaked down atop one another. As of July 12, the official death toll stood at 94 souls lost — 83 of whom have been identified — and as many as 22 individuals are still missing.

Officials around the state are calling for changes to inspection practices for these buildings, including how often evaluations should take place. In Miami-Dade County, buildings like the one in Surfside are inspected 40 years after construction (the collapsed building was built in 1981), but some think that is far too long to wait.

Volusia County Chair Jeff Brower called it a wake-up call, saying, “… we don’t want even one more like the tragedy at Surfside.” He said that bridges are inspected every two years and questioned why a high-rise is inspected at completion but never again. One idea under consideration at the state level would be to inspect new buildings after 10 years and, depending upon findings, again 10 years later.

According to the Daytona Beach News-Journal, repair work was performed in 2020, but it could not be completed, particularly around the pool, because the “aggressive excavation of concrete [there] could affect the stability of the remaining adjacent concrete constructions.” This report makes the phone call made by Cassie Stratton to her husband as the tragedy was unfolding even more poignant. From her fourth-floor balcony, she told him that she had just seen the pool drop into a sinkhole. Stratton is still missing.

Note that both reports are anecdotal and that no official cause has been released. This is unlikely to be determined for quite some time. Officials in North Miami Beach evacuated a building and won’t allow anyone to return until all needed repairs are done; in Miami-Dade, the collapse prompted the county to inspect its courthouse, revealing safety concerns that require immediate repair.

Copyright 2021,