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Florida building collapse: Second tower deemed unsafe, evacuated

Filed on July 3, 2021

Residents were told to leave immediately after engineers found serious concrete and electrical problems.

Local officials in North Miami Beach ordered a residential complex evacuated after deeming it unsafe on Friday, as the death toll rose to 22 from the collapse of the Surfside, Florida condominium tower and the remains of four more victims were found in the rubble.

All residents of the second building, Crestview Towers, were told to leave immediately after engineers found serious concrete and electrical problems, said Arthur Sorey, city manager for North Miami Beach.

One resident of the building interviewed by Reuters said he had seen nothing wrong with the building.

"The building is in very good condition. My apartment is in very good condition. I've seen the hall, I've seen the elevators, everything is in very good condition. But, I don't know what's going on," said Crestview Towers resident Silvio Martinez.

The move was considered urgent due to the approach of Hurricane Isla, which is forecast to hit Florida as early as Monday (July 5). The building's owners had not yet begun a mandatory safety recertification process required 40 years after it was built, he said.

"It's definitely not an easy decision," Sorey said. "It's just the right thing to do during these times. It's uncertain what's going to happen with the storm."

Florida building collapse: This man stayed at his girlfriend's on night of disaster

The latest remains recovered from the rubble left behind by the 12-story Champlain Towers South in nearby Surfside left 126 people listed as still missing and feared dead. No survivors have been pulled alive from the ruins since the first few hours after the tower partially caved in on itself early on June 24.

The number of people on the missing list dropped by 17 from Thursday (July 1), Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava told reporters, saying that the totals were "fluid" and sometimes revised through work by investigators.

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