In the early hours of June 24, 2021, Champlain Towers South, a 12-story luxury condominium in Surfside, FL, “pancaked.” The right side of the development completely collapsed, leaving dozens of residents stranded, hurt, or fatally injured.
Mayor Charles Burkett, the mayor of Surfside, told the Today show that the cause of the collapse was unclear. While roof work was being performed in the days preceding the event, there was no apparent reason why the building’s foundation failed.
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What Survivors Had to Say About the Surfside, FL, Building Collapse
CBS This Morning interviewed long-time Champlain Towers South Resident Barry Cohen. He described the collapse as “the loudest thing I’ve ever heard.” Thinking that it was lightning, he opened the door to his condo, only to find that the corridor outside of his residence was completely gone. “I couldn’t walk out past my doorway. A gaping hole of rubble.”
Cohen, the former vice mayor of Surfside, noted that he has had long-time concerns about the building’s stability. Amid ongoing construction in the area, he noted that the community pool had cracked pavers, indicating that something was happening just beneath the surface.
The Associated Press (AP) reported on Jennifer Carr’s experience, also a resident of Champlain Towers South. After the fire alarms in her condo started going off, she was able to get outside just in time to see her home collapse. Carr told AP, “It was devastation. People were running and screaming.”
Resources for Champlain Towers Residents and Family Members
Anyone with family members who are unaccounted for can call or go to the family reunification center at Surfside Recreation Center, located at 9301 Collins Ave.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue is asking all Champlain Towers residents to complete a Wellness Check Form to help with location efforts.
Who is Responsible for the Surfside Building Collapse?
Every Florida resident, regardless of where they live, is entitled to a certain degree of safety. As of June 24, 2021, we do not know who is financially responsible for this incident. Negligent parties could include:
- The building’s owner. If this party knew (or should have known) that the building was unsafe for habitation, then they should have either notified residents or made necessary repairs.
- A maintenance company. Champlain Towers South is nearly 40 years old, constructed in the 1980s. If a maintenance company failed to bring the building up to code, address certain hazards, or deliver reliable handiwork, they could be accountable.
- A construction company. Even though Champlain Towers South’s condos start at $600,000, speculation is that poor materials, shoddy construction, and other related contributors led to its collapse. The party that worked on the building could be found liable for its negligence––even if it’s been years since the party worked on the project.
- A government agency. The city, a municipality, or another related department could have contributed to the incident. For example, if a city inspector failed to notice signs that indicated an issue, their employer (the government) could be held accountable, and the liable government agency could work on the state, city, or county level.
There could be other parties liable for residents’ losses. Mayor Burkett assured the press that the building collapse was due to internal issues––and not criminal activity, like a bomb denotation. However, an investigation is still underway to determine the incident’s exact cause.
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What will Happen to the Survivors of the Collapse?
At the time of publication, AP noted that there was one confirmed fatality with dozens more injured. Due to the nature of the collapse, about 51 people have been reported missing. Firefighters are using cherry pickers and other related vehicles to remove any survivors from their homes, as it is not safe to use stairways or elevators.
Many survivors were transferred to hotels where they will remain until other arrangements can be made. Others do not have this luxury and will instead spend time in the hospital. Some residents have even joined the search, looking for survivors trapped under the rubble.
If you or a loved one was affected by the Surfside building collapse, you could have options for seeking damages.
Are You Eligible to Seek Damages Following the Surfside Building Collapse?
You could be eligible to seek compensation if any one of the following scenarios applies to you:
- You suffered injuries as a result of the building’s failure.
- You lost a loved one as a result of the building’s collapse.
- You incurred property damage costs due to the incident.
As this story evolves, we want you to consider your legal options. You could have a case against multiple parties when seeking compensation for your damages.
The Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine Is Here to Help
Our personal injury team serving Surfside is ready to advocate for your rights. We are monitoring this situation closely and committed to delivering updates regarding its progression. To learn more about your options, reach out to our legal team today.