North Miami Beach orders immediate closure of condo building deemed unsafe

North Miami Beach orders immediate closure of condo building deemed unsafe

The city of North Miami Beach has ordered the immediate closure and evacuation of a condo building after a report submitted Friday determined the structure is unsafe, officials said.

Crestview Towers, about seven miles north of the Surfside condo building that collapsed last week, was deemed to be structurally and electrically unsafe based on a delinquent recertification report for the almost 50-year-old building, said City Manager Arthur H. Sorey III.

The report was dated January 11, 2021, and was submitted Friday, Sorey said. An engineer retained by the condominium association concluded in the report that the building was structurally and electrically unsafe, Sorey said.

Harold Dauphin, who said he lives in the building with his 7-year-old, told CNN that he first learned of the evacuations when he was picking up his child from camp.

As he approached the residence, he said he saw helicopters flying above and police on the premises, going floor to floor, assisting with the evacuation procedures.

“I mean, I understand the call, it’s a great call, knowing what happened at Surfside, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. It’s unfortunate but it’s the right call for the safety of others,” Dauphin said.

He added that he is disturbed that the building personnel didn’t action sooner to make repairs. Dauphin estimated that his building has been under repairs for nearly three years.

“But if you do a walk around, you see some cracks in the walls and stuff like that they’re supposedly fixing, trying to fix. But again, nobody knew, I didn’t know that the building was deemed unsafe since January,” he said. “It makes no sense. Six months later, oh you know it wasn’t safe?”

Crestview, built in 1972, had not undergone the recertification process required for buildings 40 years old, according to Sorey.

“And that’s what pushed us to push the issue of their compliance, and then that’s when they submitted their report,” the city manager said, adding a 30-day notice of closure was posted by the city yesterday. The condo’s report was submitted to the city around 2 p.m. Friday, he said.

The collapse of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Florida, last week prompted the city to launch a review of all high-rise condo buildings above five stories.

Crestview has 156 units, Sorey said. The manager said he doesn’t know how many residents the building has.

The city is aiming to evacuate residents within two to three hours, but Sorey said it is likely to take all night.

“We know people are working jobs and second jobs, and we’ll be here all night to help people get out,” Sorey said.

The city is working with the Red Cross to find temporary shelter for displaced residents who do not have a place to stay, he said.

“Nothing is more important than the safety and lives of our residents, and we will not rest until we ensure this building is 100% safe,” Sorey said.

CNN has reached out to Crestview’s condominium association for comment.