SURFSIDE, FLA. (WSVN) - A structural engineer brought in by Surfside officials to inspect the condominium building that partially collapsed said residents of the development’s sister towers should not feel concerned about a similar catastrophe happening in the other two buildings.
The name Champlain is now associated with death and destruction following Thursday morning’s collapse, but after a walk-through view of the two other buildings bearing the same name, engineer Allyn Kilsheimer said there’s no need to sound the alarm.
“Based on the exposed and physical condition of what I saw, based on my experience with buildings and garages, no, I don’t think that’s necessary,” he said.
Champlain Towers North was completed one year after the Towers’ South development in 1982 by the same developer, with the same design.
The building next to it, Champlain Towers East, has the same name but a different design, It was built in 1994.
Kilsheimer said he took a good look at both buildings.
“From the exposed and visible conditions, it looked like, generally speaking, normal concrete deterioration that happens on all jobs,” he said.
Naum Lusky, the president of Champlain North’s condo board, echoed the engineer’s comments.
“I mean, everybody says that this is a twin building of the other one, and that if something happens to that one, it might happen to this one, too, but it’s nothing further from the truth,” he said.
A walk-through of the parking garage showed no signs of cracking, no exposed rebar, no water, and the pump designed to pump water from the garage is brand-new. Waterproofing on the pool deck has been overhauled, and fixtures on the roof are sealed to repel moisture.
Robert Andai, the vice president of the condo board, said the balcony tiles were replaced in each unit to keep them from holding water.
“It hides underneath the tile, and then it can go into the rebar as the cement deteriorates,” he said.
Surfside Mayor Chales Burkett said the town brought in Kilsheimer because of his qualifications.
“This gentleman is eminently qualified. We’re happy to have him on board,” he said.
In addition to his input, Burkett said the Champlain North building was set to begin a more in-depth inspection on Tuesday.
“The condo board has engineers coming to do a full, top-to-bottom forensic review of all of the structure system, so we can tell the people with some certainly that their building is not unsafe,” said the mayor.
“As long as they do a thorough inspection — they bring in their engineers this week and next week and check everything out, make sure everything is really safe and solid — then I’m not worried, I’ll stay there,” said North Tower resident Philip Zyne, “because I believe our building is a nice building. It has been maintained very properly.”
Since the South Tower’s collapse, some local leaders have been requesting and others have been requiring status reports related to older high-rises in South Florida.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said Tuesday that this review has already uncovered potential dangers elsewhere.
“A building in Northeast Dade, that four balconies must be immediately closed to residents due to safety conditions,” she said.
While the in-depth inspections are conducted and completed on Champlain Towers North, Kilsheimer has a message for residents.
“I always say to people, if I tell you I won’t let my kids in the building, then you have to worry. I would let my kids be in those buildings,” he said.
As of Tuesday night, Champlain Towers North’s condo association has not responded to 7News’ request for a status report on the inspection.
A North Tower resident said there have been several people in the hallways from many different agencies.
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