Witness describes Florida building collapse: ‘Something you see out of a movie’
Nicholas Balboa, who witnessed the building collapse in Surfside, FL, recounts finding a 10-year-old buried in the rubble and leading first responders to him.
The Champlain Towers condominium suffered a partial collapse early Thursday morning, with dozens of residents rescued, more missing and at least one person reported dead.
The 12-story condo building in Surfside, Fla., was built in 1981.
The total complex, including Champlain Towers East and North, is comprised of 342 apartments. The south building, which is newer, hosted 136 units, which were occupied by full-time residents, families, snowbirds and short-term renters, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Sally Heyman told Fox News.
A condo could cost anywhere from $600,000 to $900,000 for one- to three-bedroom apartments, with up to around 1,600 square feet to live in, according to some real estate listings.
For that price, the building hosted a number of impressive facilities, including a fitness center, pool, spa, sauna, beach access, a business center and a playground for children. Some apartments had balconies that faced onto the beach as well, and Miami Beach is just a 30-minute drive south.
The condo sits in the heart of what is by all accounts a luxurious neighborhood: The Solara Surfside Hotel stands just next door to the towers, with Veterans Park across the street and the North Beach Oceanside Park stretched out to the south.
The community provides a stark contrast from the bustle and glitz of nearby South Beach with a slower-paced neighborhood feel.
Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump rented an apartment just one block west of Champlain Towers, The Wall Street Journal reported.
A South Florida-based home insurance inspector – who asked to not be named – told the Miami Herald she had visited the building in February 2020 to inspect impact windows and doors for a client. She said the building was made of reinforced concrete and should not have collapsed the way it did, the Herald reported.
The building was due for a required 40-year inspection.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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