A woman staying across the street from the Miami high-rise that partially collapsed last week took video minutes before the collapse appearing to show water leaking from the base of the building.
Roberto Castillero told NBC News that his wife took the video, which she later posted to TikTok with a caption in Spanish: “The basement was the first part to collapse.” The video shows water streaming down from the garage at Champlain Towers South in Surfside.
Castillero said he and his wife were staying at Bluegreen Vacations Solara Surfside Resort across from the doomed high-rise.
She took the video at 1:15 a.m. Thursday, he said. Half of the building flattened at about 1:30 a.m.
Investigators have not determined what caused 55 of the 136 units in the northeast corridor of the 12-floor building to crumble.
But a trove of emails and documents released by Surfside revealed that residents and contractors had been raising concerns about the integrity of the building for years — specifically focusing on structural problems and leaks in the garage and pool area.
A commercial pool contractor who was inspecting the pool last week told the Miami Herald that there “was standing water all over the parking garage,” and the biggest puddle of water was by parking spot 78, located under the pool deck, where a contractor in 2018 had reported there was “major structural damage.”
The report recommended that concrete slabs, which were “showing distress” by the entrance and pool deck, “be removed and replaced in their entirety.” It said the concrete deterioration should “be repaired in a timely fashion.”
Residents were not told of that report, which was commissioned to get a start on a 40-year recertification process, as is required under the Miami-Dade County building code. In fact, after the report was compiled, a Surfside buildings official told them their condo building was in good shape.
A letter in April from Champlain Towers South Board President Jean Wodnicki to residents revealed that the building’s “concrete deterioration is accelerating.”
The letter, which explained why a renovation that had originally been estimated to cost about $9 million had jumped to $16 million in about three years, confirmed engineering consultant Frank Morabito’s 2018 prediction that already extensive damage to the building “would begin to multiply exponentially.”