NORTH MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A day after hundreds of North Miami Beach residents were ordered to leave their condominium building due to structural and electrical concerns, one woman said the evacuation has put her and her family in a difficult position as a tropical storm swirls closer to Florida.
7News cameras captured the Crestview Towers complex along Northeast 164th Street cordoned off with tape and surrounded by police officers, Saturday night. The building is empty, and no one can go inside.
For Anabelle Salomon and her family, the past 24 hours have been a nightmare.
“It’s hard on them. It’s hard on us. We don’t know what to do,” she said.
Soloman and everyone inside the building were forced to evacuate immediately on Friday.
The emergency evacuation happened hours after city officials received a report from the condo association that said the 156-unit building was deemed unsafe following an investigation and review of all high-rises above five stories.
“I have water come in every time it rains, through the cracks outside the building. That has created mold,” said Salomon.
What the city found was a report from January that said the building was structurally unsafe. When officials found out, they decided to order the evacuation.
Salomon said she was forced to move her husband and the children in with her mother.
“Her house is already full. She already has my sister and everything living with her, so there’s not a lot of space,” she said.
A 7News viewer shared pictures that appear to show damage to the building.
Salomon said she has been experiencing unsafe conditions as well.
“We’ve let the owner know. Whoever is handling the apartments, they have tried their best to patch up, but it’s still bad,” she said. “It’s still in bad condition. We have water leaks, we haven’t had [air conditioning] for almost a year now.”
The forced evacuation comes as South Florida braces for possible effects from Tropical Storm Elsa.
Crestview Towers residents hope the system doesn’t bring any more suffering.
“It’s not easy. I mean, how are supposed to supply for ourselves? And my mom has to supply for herself and keep all of us safe,” said Salomon. “Let’s say that we got evacuated. We’re a big family, a lot of people, so it shouldn’t have to be like that. We shouldn’t have to go through this.”
Residents without a place to stay were bussed to E. Darwin Fuchs Pavilion at the Miami-Dade County Fair and Exposition site in West Miami-Dade.
After residents were forced out, North Miami Beach commissioners held a special commission meeting over Zoom to discuss the evacuation. Members were worried more unsafe buildings will be discovered in the future.
“I worry about the greed that has descended over our county and other counties and all these investors that are buying into these places knowing they’re rotting from the inside out, but they’re renting them anyway,” said Commissioner Barbara Kramer.
Senator Jason Pizzo expressed his concern about other unsafe condos on Twitter. He said condo associations should follow the law so that residents are not “uprooted and forced to sleep in shelters.”
The city has set up a hotline for Crestview Towers residents who need help. They can call 786-589-4056 between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m.
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