Victims, Families Searching For Answers After Miami Building Collapse Injures Hundreds
Gregg Hollander | June 28, 2021 | Construction Accident
After the recent devastating collapse of a Surfside, Florida apartment building, people are searching for answers. Floridians and other U.S. citizens can generally expect facilities to adhere to building codes. The lack of answers makes this more tragic for those affected.
As of this writing, there are four fatalities with more expected. There are also 159 people missing. This number could increase in the coming days. Firefighters had recently rescued 35 people from the building. This also includes a young boy.
A pregnant British woman, her husband, and an infant son are still missing after the initial collapse. The hope of finding more survivors is starting to fade as the hours press on.
Even as the rescuers continue their search, the internet has started to speculate about the causes of the collapse. It is essential to wait for the official cause of the failure to be released. It is also necessary to understand the potential issues as they are seen by a professional.
What Caused the Collapse?
News reports vary on their initial speculation. One outlet found that the building’s foundation had been sinking since the 1990s. Other sources speculate that there may have been an issue with construction or engineering defects.
Engineering inspections should happen once every 5-10 years. Even those inspections may have missed some critical issues that lead to the catastrophic building failure.
The salt in Florida’s environment may have played a role in the deterioration of the steel construction of the condominium. Some experts suggest that once rust is found, it may need complete replacement or demolition of buildings to correct the issue. If rust was not noticed during the inspection, it could have played a contributing role in the collapse of the building.
Are Current Building Codes Stringent Enough?
The extreme weather that coastal Florida cities must endure can also weaken the support structure over time. The hurricane weather of Florida also requires regular updates to the building codes. So even if the building was up to code when it was built, it might not have met the modern building standard.
Miami-Dade County requires buildings that have existed for 40 years or more must undergo a new inspection. This inspection would allow them to become recertified. Yet, many professionals believe that buildings, particularly in this area, are affected by rising sea levels. These buildings should be inspected more often. A change in this regulation may have been able to catch the underlying cause of the collapse before it was too late.
At this point, the Florida Governor, Rob DeSantis, is calling for an immediate investigation. The federal government is also getting involved to ensure that the people of Florida get the answers they need.
Additionally, Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz calls for a swift and thorough investigation because “This building isn’t unusual.” There are several similar buildings in the surrounding area. These buildings use similar construction techniques. Fast but accurate identification of the issue should result in more investigations of the surrounding community to ensure that the problems that brought this building down are not repeated in another area.
Local communities are reeling after this tragedy. Regardless of the cause, professionals believe that it should have been avoided. The critical factor is to identify what went wrong and what party handles the failure.
Litigation in the Wake of a Tragedy
Many individuals may believe that taking the responsible companies or individuals to court won’t fix the issue. Litigation is the best route forward.
This will allow for several different problems to be resolved:
- A legal case will establish the party’s responsibility so that their other work can be investigated to ensure this does not happen again.
- It will lead to the community understanding who is at fault. This will improve the chances that they will not suffer the same consequences.
- Legal cases involving negligence also offer an excellent warning for other companies–particularly building construction companies.
These cases help to establish a baseline service level. Even when nobody is looking that they’ll do the right thing to protect the people who end up living in these homes.
The families of the affected could never be adequately compensated for their losses. However, as often happens when people are injured or killed as the result of another’s negligent behavior, victims and surviving loved ones may receive a financial settlement for their losses – including their pain and suffering.
You can help support the survivors and affected families by donating. Many organizations are accepting financial donations or supplies to help displaced residents recover. A few examples are American Red Cross, World Central Kitchen, or other charitable organizations. Make sure that you research an organization to ensure they are legitimate.
If you are a survivor or currently resided in the partially collapsed tower, officials ask you to fill out a wellness check form.