Residents of an eight-story, 137-unit Miami condo building were told to evacuate on Monday evening when city officials declared the structure unsafe, NBC Miami reported.
The evacuation order posted to the building’s entrance gave hundreds of residents mere hours to vacate the condo at 5050 NW Seventh St.
“We obviously don’t feel that it’s safe,” Miami Building Director Asael “Ace” Marrero told NBC Miami. “Structural integrity has been degraded by the contractor proceeding with the repairs that they were not authorized to do.”
“We have a lot of elderly owners here that have no place to go,” building resident Dmidry Asanov said. “Some have COVID, some can’t walk.”
In the wake of the catastrophic partial collapse of a Miami-area condo building in June that left few survivors, city officials have heightened their scrutiny of older buildings in the area through a series of inspections. The condo at NW Seventh St. isn’t the first to be evacuated — in early July, hundreds of building residents were evacuated from two separate condo buildings due to safety concerns.
The building on NW Seventh St. that residents were told to evacuate on Monday had been flagged in May and put on the city’s unsafe structure list as a result of images of the property’s damage. In addition, the building was non-compliant with the city’s required recertification process.
A meeting was then held with city officials and the building’s residents on July 26 about the building’s condition, according to the Miami Herald. The following day, city inspectors decided to close the building’s garage due to structural issues.
At that point, the condo’s property manager was asked to immediately submit a plan to repair columns on the building’s first floor, but those plans were never received, nor was a work permit for repairs submitted, according to city officials.
On Thursday, however, an engineer sent a letter to city officials testifying that the “building was safe for current occupancy” while repair work was being completed, according to the Herald. When inspectors took a look at the building on Friday and saw work being done without a permit, a stop work order was issued.
On Monday, Miami Building Department officials deemed “the columns to be structurally insufficient,” leading to the evacuation order.
The city is working with the condo’s residents to help them find temporary housing, according to Marrero.