A Florida high-rise building collapse on Thursday morning killed at least ten people, injured 11, and it is being reported that 151 individuals are still missing. Officials said 102 people have been accounted for as rescue efforts continued into the night.
The devastation occurred at the Champlain Towers South condominium, which is located in the Surfside City section of Miami. The partially crumbled building is located on the corners of Collins Ave. and 88th Street, which is only seven miles north of the famed tourist destination known as South Beach. Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, said the building was 12 stories high and housed over 130 units. The part of the building that fell held 55 units.
If you are trying to contact a loved one who may have been involved in the collapse, a family reunification center has been set up at 9301 Collins Ave. You can also call the emergency hotline at (305) 614-1819 if you are having trouble locating a missing family member.
Devastation in Paradise
To make matters worse, the devastation began around 1:30 a.m., when most people in the predominantly Jewish community of Surfside are usually asleep. However, officials could not determine how many people were in the building at the time of the collapse.
What looked like a scene from the attack that shook our country back on 9-11-2001, videos showed the devastation in real-time as the building crumbled and a huge cloud of dust engulfed the scene. Rescue crews carefully searched through the rubble using dogs, cameras and listening devices to locate the missing. Voices could be heard from beneath the destruction as firefighters called out for anyone needing help. A total of 35 people were pulled out of the rubble but 99 are still unaccounted for.
Similar to the response on 9/11, the community has been shaken but not broken. Several local organizations have been creating fundraisers and collecting essentials for the displaced survivors. Most of the victims have lost everything and are in need of housing, food, water, clothing, toiletries, toys and other essentials.
If you wish to contribute to the cause, the Greater Miami Jewish Federation created a campaign to help the victims of the collapse. The Miami Heat, along with several other local charitable organizations have also created an online hardship fund to help those impacted by the disaster. The red cross is also on the scene and you can contribute on the website or call 1-800-HELP-NOW (1-800-435-7769) to help those in need.
Possible Causes for the Collapse
Although an official cause for the collapse is yet to be determined, it was later reported that the building had been sinking into the earth since the early 1990’s and was declared unstable a year ago. Shimon Wdowinski, a professor from Florida International University’s Institute of Environment, performed a study of the structure in 2020 and found that it had been sinking at an alarming rate since the 1990’s. According to the study, the building was sinking at a rate of two millimeters per year since the ’90’s and may have accelerated or slowed over the years, depending on the conditions.
All commercial and multi-family buildings in the county are required to be inspected and re-certified every 40 years. The process includes structural and electrical inspections which are filed in a report and sent to the town. Town officials say the process was already initiated before the collapse, however, it had not yet been completed.
Although Wdowinski did not confirm the sinking was the main cause for the collapse, he agrees that it may have contributed to it. He went on to say the building showed some kind of unusual movement, which caused it to sink. This is referred to as vertical land displacement.
It was reported that a lawsuit was filed in 2015 against building management saying that they failed to maintain an outside wall, which resulted in cracks and water damage. According to court records, the owner who filed the suit had previously filed another suit for the same reason and was awarded compensation for the damages.
Engineers say that shifting foundations and cracked walls can sometimes be clues that the stability of a structure can be affected by sinking. Cracked walls, uneven floors, and objects rolling off tables can all be signs that a building is sinking.
Need Legal Help? Call a Lawyer Who Never Settles for Less
If you or a loved one was injured in the Surfside building collapse, you could be eligible for financial compensation. Contact the law firm of Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers today to schedule a no-cost, initial consultation. There is no obligation to hire our firm for legal representation and your information is kept completely confidential. Let our knowledgeable attorneys help you hold at-fault parties liable for your damages.
If you have a valid claim, you could pursue compensation to cover medical bills, lost income from missing work, pain and suffering, property losses and other damages. Depending on the details of your claim, surviving family members who lost a loved one in the building collapse could recover funds to pay for funeral and burial expenses, loss of consortium, loss of future wages and more.
The dedicated lawyers at the law firm of Frankl and Kominsky know what it takes to hold negligent property owners liable for damages that could have been prevented, such as a building collapse incident. Our firm has more than four decades of combined legal experience while handling more than 6,000 cases combined. If your claim is justified, we can perform a thorough investigation and build a strong case in your favor, so you can pursue the full and fair amount of compensation you may legally deserve.
Be sure to avoid accepting a quick settlement offer from the insurance companies involved, as they may not offer the full amount of compensation you may be legally eligible for. If your claim has merit, our knowledgeable attorneys can accurately calculate your damages and help you pursue the compensation you may need for a full recovery.
Call the law firm of Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers today at (561) 800-8000 or fill out a free online form.