North Miami high rise residents evacuated after warning of unsafe structure and electric problems before Monday’s storm


Five days after the Surfside condominium collapse in Miami-Dade County, three hundred residents of another condominium about five miles away were ordered to evacuate their building by officials after they found that it had been declared unsafe in January.


City Manager Arthur H. Sorey III told CNN that the 50-year-old Crestview Towers in North Miami Beach had not gone through the mandated recertification process after 40 years. After official inquiry, the building manager produced a report on Friday.


The report dated January 11, 2021, stated that Crestview Towers was not “structurally nor electrically safe for continued occupancy.” Officials immediately ordered that the 156 -unit condominium should be evacuated and closed.


Friday evening, hundreds of residents packed belongings into suitcases and cars and left the building. Fortuna Smukler, who is the commissioner of North Miami Beach, said that she went post haste to the building after she heard the news on Friday afternoon. She said that officials were looking to help evacuated residents find places to go especially due to the approaching storm on Monday.


Smulker also said that she knew two people who were still unaccounted for in the Surfside collapse earlier in the week and that she wanted to ensure what happened in that condominium would not happen in their building.


Residents told WSVN that they were unaware that the building had been declared unsafe from the beginning of the year. Some residents said that they were told to get out as soon as possible, without being given a reason. An ex-tenant said that he had left the condominium last year as the building had been in an abject state and there were bad pipes and water flooding and that water flowed down from the ceiling of the garage.


On Friday, the mayor of Miami-Dade Daniella Lavine Cava announced that the portion of Champlain Towers that remained standing would be demolished as it posed a threat to public health and safety. She said that it would be brought down as soon as possible to protect the community.

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