A lifelong Surfside local said the Florida beachfront condominium that collapsed used to be a quarry pit that couldn’t withhold a firm foundation for the doomed residential building, Your Content can exclusively reveal.
Dominick Daniel, 48, told Your Content in an exclusive interview at the site of the rescue effort that he first thought a gas line was struck before realizing a nearby condominium collapsed.
“I thought it was a gas line because the power went out briefly. I went back to sleep, and then the next morning I found out on the news that the building had collapsed.” Daniel told Your Content.
As a kid in the ‘70s, Daniel would journey to the condominium site—which was a quarry pit at the time—to play with other children in the massive pit.
“It was—it was a quarry pit, it was basically the base of what they were gonna build there. And I used to play in there as a kid, and you know—it was a big—it was a big pit.” Daniel said.
Florida is able to produce so much limestone due to millions of years of algal and coral growth. Countless sea level fluctuations then worked to form the massive carbonate shelf Florida rest on today, Dustin Brownlow concluded in a project titled Mapping the Florida Rock Quarries.
“The same with the Champlain Number Two there, because half of these hotels weren’t here.”
Champlain Number Two was the dwelling located on 89th and Collins, said the resident.
According to quarry databases, there are at-least three quarries in Miami-Dade County. Three miles northwest of Miami is Ponce Products Corp.’s Pennsuco Limestone quarry, Miami Oolitic Limestone, and Miami Oolitic Deposit.
“I grew up here, and I walk my dog for example, for the last couple of years, I would see in the foundation huge cracks.”
Daniel said the cracks that infested the collapsed condominium were eerily similar to buildings damaged by major California earthquakes.
“And the only kind of cracks I used to see like that when I was in California, buildings that had earthquake damage.” Daniel went on. “And also, the balconies where buckling.
“You saw the rebar and the metal sticking out, and the crack, and it had already dropped. So that can’t be good. So this was obviously something property residents, staff and the landlords knew and saw.”
As Your Content readers exclusively know, Mayor Charles Burkett said ‘something very, very wrong’ happened to trigger the catastrophic beachfront condominium collapse.
“They probably either neglected it or was waiting.” Daniel, 48, told Your Content Tuesday.
“Now they say they check it every 40 years.”
The lifelong resident says the quad-decade routine check will simply fail as foundations near sandbars and wetlands continuously shift.
“You have to understand, if you have to tack on another 40 years when you live in front of the ocean, you have the shifting because we’re built on a sandbar.”
Officials won’t yet comment on what exactly brought the 40-year-old tower down but experts who have viewed footage of it say it started with a problem in the bottom of the building – perhaps the parking garage – and once that crumbled, huge swathes of the building came down with it.
The death toll rose by just five people Monday, to a total of 10 confirmed dead. But more than 150 people are still missing in Surfside.
As Your Content readers exclusively know, agents on both the state and federal level are investigating a beachfront condominium catastrophic collapse Thursday that left at-least four dead and 159 others unaccounted for.
“It’s a routine criminal investigation that will be conducted,” a source who spoke under the condition of anonymity as the investigation is ongoing told Your Content Friday. “All routes are being pursued at this time.
“When an occupied residential building collapses on American soil—it certain warrants a full blown investigation by the United States Government,” the source close to the investigation told Your Content. “The FBI is taking full advantage of all resources available to them.”
According to the well-placed source, federal agents are executing search warrants to obtain building records and inspections.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an emergency declaration for Miami-Dade County late on Thursday that will provide assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to those dealing with the high-rise building collapse.
The emergency declaration came after President Joe Biden said the agency had been sent to Florida and offered help from the federal government in recovering from the disaster.
Horrifying surveillance footage, obtained by WSVN, captured the moment the building collapsed, sending a huge cloud of debris into the air and officials said the level of destruction made it seem like a ‘bomb went off.’
Rescue teams are currently entering the rubble in groups of 10 to 12 at a time with dogs and other equipment as they trawl the wreckage for any survivors. Sources told NBC6 that search a dog had tracked two potential survivors as of Thursday afternoon.
Some signs of life have been reported from inside the rubble, although officials have yet to share further information on the hopeful discovery. They also face trying to free anyone who is still alive while avoiding making further rubble collapse on top of them.
Hundreds of distraught relatives gathered at a family reunification center holding photos of their loved ones as they awaited news.
As the desperate search for survivors continued, police were already probing the cause of the collapse.
Officials said the building, built in 1981, was going through a recertification process and that engineers had been hired to complete electrical and structural repairs.
Experts who had studied the building as recently as last year said the building was unstable and had been sinking since the 1990s.
The Miami building that collapsed was due for re-certification and had hired engineers to complete electrical and structural changes, it has been revealed.
Champlain Towers South was completed in 1981 but hasn’t been updated significantly since then. There are 136 condos inside and most belong to first-time homeowners. Some have sold for more than $2million. Fifty-five of the condos were destroyed in the collapse.
Florida law dictates that buildings have to be re-certified every 40 years so the building was due to be recertified this year.
The Champlain Towers South Association had hired an engineer who was planning ‘structural and electrical’ updates, but hadn’t started it yet, Kenneth Direktor, a lawyer for the association, told The Miami Herald.
He didn’t say what the needed updates were.
Just after 2:30 p.m. Friday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he spoke with President Biden this afternoon regarding the building collapse and he and the White House are “stepping up to help people who are in need.”
As Your Content readers know, President Joe Biden called Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Friday to discuss the catastrophic condominium collapse that riveted the nation.
“President Biden spoke this afternoon with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to offer support after the President approved an emergency declaration for Miami-Dade County, Florida last night following the partial collapse of a residential building in Surfside, Florida.” White House officials said Friday. “The President said his administration stands ready to provide additional resources and assistance that state and local officials need.
“The President expressed his gratitude for the heroic first responders and search and rescue teams who are working tirelessly and whose bravery and courage have saved lives.”