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The World Waits for Answers in Surfside, Florida Condo Collapse

Details are emerging as survivors and others with longstanding histories with the Champlain Towers South condominium building in Surfside, Florida have begun telling their story. And a common thread is starting to emerge.

In one of the lawsuits that have already been filed in response to the overnight collapse of a 12-story Florida condominium, plaintiff Raysa Rodriguez alleges “reckless and negligent conduct” by the building’s condo association as they ignored needed repairs for years. According to the lawsuit, residents complained of ongoing water intrusion into the underground garage as many as 15-20 years ago; a problem that might have been a foretelling of tragedy to come. In fact, a pool contractor told the Miami Herald in an interview that he had observed unusually high amounts of standing water pooling in various locations of the garage, as well as “cracking concrete and severely corroded rebar under the swimming pool.”

These problems could have been exacerbated by ongoing construction of a building next to the condo, as detailed in a second, separate lawsuit over the matter. Building resident and plaintiff Steve Rosenthal alleges in his lawsuit that “numerous complaints” had been filed over concerns that the building was shaking during the construction and that there was evidence that the land around the building was actually sinking into the ground. According to the lawsuit, the sinking of this land, combined with structural shaking as a result of nearby construction, created a situation where tragedy was almost inevitable.

As of this writing, sixty people are confirmed dead as a result of the collapse and the search efforts have shifted from rescue to recovery. Meanwhile, the investigation into the cause of the collapse is presumed to take months – if not years. As rescuers comb through the wreckage and investigators work to find out exactly what happened, residents of surrounding buildings have to be wondering about the safety of their own homes.