Residents of Miami Condo Forced to Evacuate

MIAMI (Miami Herald/TNS) -
Condominium at 5050 NW Seventh St. in Flagami which was evacuated after city officials deemed the structure “unsafe.”

An eight-story condo building in Miami was evacuated Monday night after city officials deemed the structure “unsafe.”

The 138-unit building, 5050 NW Seventh St. in Flagami, was put on notice regarding several violations on July 7, the city said. Among the violations: Not obtaining a 40-year recertification.

“We felt the building occupants were not safe,” added Building Director Asael “Ace” Marrero.

Late into the night, residents were lugging their belongings to the packed parking lot as police cars were in the front of the building.

The condo association could not be reached for comment Monday night.

According to the city, Marrero, Building Official Maurice Pons, Assistant Director Jose Regalado and Chief of Unsafe Structures Rene Diaz met with residents “who were concerned about the condition of the building,” on July 26.

The next day, city staff inspected the entire property and determined that the detached elevated garage had to be closed because of structural concerns. The property manager was also told that the damaged columns in the first floor of the main building “required emergency shoring” and that they had to submit a plan to fix it immediately, the city said.

But the city says it never received any plans, nor did the building apply for any permits to fix the problems.

But on Aug. 5, officials received a letter from an engineer saying the “building was safe for current occupancy while the emergency repair work continued,” according to the city.

The next day the a city inspector saw work being done without a permit and a stop work order was issued.

Then on Monday, Miami’s Building Department officials met with the Condo Association and the engineer and “found the columns to be structurally insufficient.” That’s when the city decided to vacate the building.

A spokeswoman said that the city is working with residents to help them with temporary housing.

The partial collapse of Champlain Towers South in Surfside near Miami Beach on June 24, which left 98 people dead, has shone a spotlight on buildings in need of repairs.

Several buildings in South Florida have been evacuated because of structural concerns. Last month, North Miami Beach ordered the evacuation of the 10-story Crestview Towers because of unsafe structural and electrical issues. On Monday, there was a fire in the building.