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Months Ago, A Letter Warned Of Issues With A Collapsed Miami Building
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Months Ago, A Letter Warned Of Issues With A Collapsed Miami Building

According to a letter obtained by multiple media outlets Tuesday, the president of the board of directors of the collapsed high-rise near Miami warned residents two months before the deadly tragedy that parts of the building's infrastructure were seriously decaying.

The condominium association president of Surfside's Champlain Towers South, Jean Wodnicki, explained to residents in a letter dated April 9 why a $15 million assessment for building repairs was required.

“The concrete deterioration is accelerating,” she wrote, noting that the damage would “multiply exponentially” in the coming years. “When you can visually see the concrete spalling (cracking), that means the rebar holding it together is rusting and deteriorating beneath the surface,” she explained.

“The roof situation deteriorated significantly, necessitating extensive roof repairs,” she wrote in the letter, which The Wall Street Journal and USA Today obtained first.

Wodnicki writes in one foreboding passage, "A lot of this work could have been done or planned for in years gone by, but this is where we are now."

This isn't the first time someone has tried to raise concerns about the building, which was built in 1981; in 2018, an engineer warned of concrete damage that would likely spread.

Since the incident last Thursday, 150 people who were thought to be in the building at the time of the early morning collapse have gone missing, with 11 confirmed dead, 11 injured, and two rescued from the rubble. Around 35 people were rescued from the building's uncollapsed portion.

A lawsuit filed on behalf of the victims and their families blames the condo board for the collapse, alleging that its members are liable for “failures to secure and safeguard” residents' lives and property.

Surfside town manager Andy Hyatt told MSNBC on Tuesday that condo associations are responsible for completing building inspections on time and collaborating with the city to begin any repair processes.

“As far as the Miami-Dade County code is concerned, each condo association is responsible for their own structural engineering, so we rely on them to bring things to our attention,” he said.

In another interview with The Washington Post, Hyatt said he plans to “tighten the screws” and make building inspection policies more stringent if elected in November 2020.

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