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The Surfside Condo Collapse

On June 24, 2021, the Champlain Towers South, a beachfront condo, in Surfside, Florida collapsed. Approximately 140 people were in the condo when the building collapsed, and at the time of writing this article, the death toll is 97 people, but the numbers are expected to rise in the coming days as rescuers continue to search. A search and rescue team was put into place to find possible survivors, however, only one person was found amidst the rubble. Florida’s governor, Ron Desantis, declared a state of emergency following the day of collapse, and President Joe Biden met with the governor and families of the victims. On July 4th, a controlled demolition of the west side of the condo was conducted due to concerns of collapse to the search and rescue efforts taking place. Three days later, Miami officials announced that a search and recovery operation would take place as the chance of finding more bodies “is near zero”, as stated by CBS News.

Engineers have started to look for reasons as to why the condo collapsed, and some of them include the erosion of steel, leading to the collapse of concrete; not enough use of rebar (reinforced steel) during construction, and a crater forming under the pool deck than gave way to the structural support that the building needed. With so many of these problems that had been previously brought to light by inspectors, the condo managers had failed to start repairs sooner and the damage that it caused was uncalled for and heartbreaking for many families and friends of the victims. Of these victims, many were from diverse countries with different personalities, ranging from a baseball fan to several doctors. You can see a list of these victims here.

In the future, Miami officials are looking to construct buildings to adapt to rising sea levels that can danger a building’s structural integrity. Sea levels have risen by 8 inches since a century ago, and since it is saltwater, it has potential to corrode the building’s base and reinforced steel that is used, says The Guardian.

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