October 26, 2021

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“Collect water, no one knows where it came from”: Sampline South Parking has been flooded for at least 25 years | Univision News United States

The southern underground parking lot at Sampline Towers has been flooded since at least 1995. When the rains, storms and high waves came in August, the water partially covered the cars and, in some cases, the level reached almost two feet. The vehicles were floating. William Espinosa, who was in charge of maintaining the tower from that year to 2000, recalled it.

“People in management told us: ‘Collect water, because you don’t even know where it came from’ (…) People asked us to pump water and clean their cars because they could not use their puddles so much ”, Account for Universal Announcements. At the time, he says, no assessment was made to understand why and where the leak occurred.

The only action they took was to draw water: “It had a pump, but He always gives trouble. I don’t know if they are too old. This is something we did not fix, but between calls from a company they had to call (…), they ordered a pump, what did we do with the water? We had to rent a pump to pour that water down the street. It was a disaster. “

Part of the southern underground parking lot at Sampline Towers was downstairs Tech Or pool site. There was even a bomb. In an imaginary line: in front of the first building that collapsed, about 10 feet from the edge of the pond. Espinosa says the stage floor was already flooded at the time. You think some of that water fell down.

Two to three times a year, remember, the parking lot is flooded.

“When you have a pump that is not working properly, the hole is filled and the parking lot is filled because there is no way to drain that water. (…) Those pumps had to be dropped manually when they were not working. Once upon a time cars floated Because there was a lot of water there was no way to drain it. That was too much. “

The stench caused by the flood in the garage also made him think so It’s seawater coming from somewhere else, But could not figure out where he was. He assures that in those five years, the residents’ association – which was in charge of maintaining the building at the time – did not send experts to review what was going on.

Fifteen years after the tower was built, problems with leaks were already beginning to appear. That’s what Espinosa remembers, and according to him, it’s the fault in the building. He wondered how this could happen in such a new structure.

Badoga remembers that the garage was mostly wet: “Water fell from the roof, there was rust on the columns”, Univision says announcements. Over the years, he assures, structural problems have become known. List of fallen exterior walls, cracks and crevices everywhere.

“We are psychologically devastated, underground with our relatives,” He says. Two hours before the crash, her husband was in one of their apartments. The other three family members slept there that night, with more than 140 still missing in the rubble. “This is a disaster,” he says, waiting for a daily press conference with the progress of rescue efforts.

“Scream for Help”: Horror stories of one of the first people to come to the Sampling Towers

Sarah Nir, who lives in Condominium, told the newspaper Washington Post Just before 1:00 a.m. that Thursday morning, he hoped something might have come out of construction. Fourteen minutes later he felt another noise as if a wall had collapsed. He left his ground floor apartment to complain to the building’s security guard. While in the lobby, he saw part of the parking lot and the pool deck collapse.

An “accumulation of deficiency”

The pool, its site and the parking lot beneath it make up the area that engineers have focused their attention on, especially due to testimonies such as former maintenance chief William Espinosa, the underground area where cars often point to stagnant water.

To Puerto Rican engineer Jose Esquarto, who has experience in creating disasters, “Seawater running through the parking lot” causes “massive damage” to the structure.

Explain if the walls of the underground parking lot are not well watered They functioned as a kind of “reverse pool”: Because they did not have a hermetic seal, they allowed seawater to enter, which would distort the columns. The exact opposite of what it should be: a “shield box.”

Pictures taken a few hours before the crash showed parts of the parking lot exposed and tangled with wires. A contractor who tested it with standing water and a picture “Poor maintenance” of the underground area.

Many years ago, in 2018, the company Morabido Consultants He undertook the general transformation of the condo as a prelude to a forced reorganization to mark the 40th anniversary of the condo. He noticed leaks from the pool deck causing “significant structural damage” to the concrete beneath the parking lot.

“Failure to replace the waterproofing in the future could lead to exponentially worse concrete damage,” the report reads to the Board of Residents and the mayor of Surpline, a small coastal suburb north of Miami Beach. .

Three years after that warning from Morabido consultants, no repairs have been made. Jacqueline Badoga’s special charge, for example, This is 000 100,000 for each apartment. I’m going to pay them the week the building collapses. And 21 neighbors had already paid thousands of dollars. The total cost, Padoka looked down on a chalkboard, was $ 15 million for parts for restoration and other alterations.

“We want to know what happened”: pending repairs in the Sampline building

According to a letter sent by the chairman of the residents’ group three months ago, the plan is to follow the recommendation and repairs of Frank Morabito in stages. An arrangement was made for the roof cooling towers and an anchor system to clean the glass in the apartment. But the auction had to start with deciding which companies would make the most important repairs: repairing the concrete and watering the pool area.

However, neither the report nor the Morabito Rehabilitation Project have issued a specific reference to seawater leaks. Modifications to the water pumping system in the parking lot or from that area, both of which have been identified as weight issues by former maintenance chief Espinosa.

Continuous entry of salt water from years of service in the Espinosa building The concrete and columns that support the parking lot may be worn More than you know, Engineer Esquarto explained.

Even if the water pumping system worked properly – it did not, Espinosa recalled that he had been there for almost five years – the expert made it clear that a parking lot should be flooded, not only by extraordinary events such as hurricanes, but by the owners counting.

“It should not be usual that it is filled with salt water because it causes terrible damage to the structure. This is pure salt water coming into the concrete, all of which is deteriorating in 40 years ”.

Potential “localized” error

Isquardo insists it is too early to determine what caused the collapse that practically triggered most of the 12-story building after 1:00 a.m. on June 24.

“Something went wrong at the bottom because there was a time when a small sink was located or the corrosion of the structure was added (…) and one piece failed, while one piece failed, the domino effect started”.

In the video: The moment a part of a residential building collapsed on Miami Beach

The massive dust cloud that engulfed the site quickly reinforces his analysis that the strip or pieces were located in the center of the south of the Champline Towers and that they were unstable due to a sump opening or corrosion. “The truth of that dust cloud is that something local happened in the center.”

The tower crashed like a “pancake” because of how it was built: called a design Flat layers and slabs with no beams used only rest in columns, The engineer explains.

With a regular design, the building is more likely to stand up. Alfred B. in Oklahoma City after the 1995 bombing. That is what happened to the Murra government tower. There, he said, “The ones under the bomb fell, but the building remained intact. If the Oklahoma building had been made of flat tiles, it would have completely collapsed, ”says Esquerto.

This type of design is common in Florida, and experts believe it could be vulnerable to major hurricanes.

Put Miami-Date County In the process of review 469 multi-family residential houses because their structures are unsafe. Among them, Prioritized 24 buildings Four stories or more, like the South Tower in the Champlain Towers, are about 40 years old. In that list, Univision received a copy of the notice, which should have started the restoration process, did not do so, or included some that were found to have “defects” that needed to be corrected to obtain the approval of local authorities. The county noted that these “defects” did not indicate structural failures, but that they should guarantee “safe and comfortable living conditions.” Not on Miami Beach or Surface Beach.

Miami-Tate County Mayor Daniel Levine Kawa said they will be inspected and the county will ensure problems are fixed. The jurisdiction states that about 10 people have already been appointed to start these studies.

Of those 24 buildings that the county prioritized, four of those buildings have 10 to 18 stories.

Isquardo agrees with officials that the restoration process should be reduced to 40 to 20 years to force condominiums to repair in a timely manner and thus avoid the tragedies that took place in the south of Sampline Towers.