MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. (WSVN) - Days after a fire emergency erupted in Miami Gardens that displaced nearly 200 people, tensions flared at the Betty T. Ferguson Community Center after those displaced residents gathered for a meeting with the property’s manager.
Meanwhile, a resident at another building, who asked to conceal her identity, worries what this means for her.
“We’re a different building,” she said. “However, we were told the same thing: our 40-year inspection hasn’t been done. This is what the meeting is coming up for, for a $500,000 special assessment.”
She asked to conceal her identity and says other owners at the New World Condominium Apartments are furious, told their 40-year building recertification wasn’t done due to a lack of funds, even though owners have been paying special assessments and homeowner association fees.
People wanted answers after a fire tore through the New World Condominium Apartments off Northwest 177th Street over the weekend leaving some 200 residents without a place to call home.
“As the property manager, all I can do is give the board information,” said the property manager most residents know simply as Denise.
She read a letter she says came from the insurance company.
“As previously advised there is no property fire coverage … as there was no carrier willing to provide due to pending completion of 40-year certification,” she read.
Vester Montgomery, a former resident of the complex, assumes he lost everything.
“We have the Ring camera, so it showed where the smoke started and how it escalated until the power went out,” he said.
7SkyForce showed the remnants of the building after part of the roof collapsed.
Many families lost everything in the fire.
“Our floor went down to the first floor — the apartment that’s under us,” said Montgomery. “We literally left with the clothes on our backs when the situation happened.”
Dozens are getting help from the Red Cross and received help from a non-profit organization over the weekend.
“The Red Cross shelter here is opened for as long as we need it to be opened,” said Stephanie Wesseling, American Red Cross South Florida. “As long as people need a place to stay, we’ll be open.”
The manager of the building held a meeting at the community and told everyone their units were uninsured; this news was a shock to most of the residents.
“You also have the people who are there saying that it was too much money for them to do the 40-year certification, so the special assessment was not passed,” said the property manager.
She continued to say an inspection was done in November of 2021, which the condo did not pass.
Residents said they have been paying HOA and assessment fees for the last several months for crews to repair the roof.
“They’ve been doing this to us for years,” said Valerie Hunter. “She does not tell us anything.”
It remains unclear whether any of these people will get any type of compensation or if they will even be able to return to their units to salvage any of their belongings.
“We are angry,” asserted Hunter. “I am angry, and I’m sick.”
All the residents of the property now want to know where their money has been going if not to insure the building, make repairs or pay for an inspection.
Meanwhile, the anonymous resident of the other building said, “We have utilities that have not been paid, the water was recently shut off for the building and now you’re asking us to get our roof done.”
This owner said the property manager refuses to provide invoices or show what the balances are.
She wants the Miami-Dade State Attorney and the City of Miami Gardens to take a closer look.
“So if we get our roof done will this happen to us too? Because these people were getting their roof done and all of a sudden the building just burned down, so how can we trust you?” she said.
7News reached out to the City of Miami Gardens for clarification on the re-certification issue and any plans to get the building recertified.
The City Manager responded and told 7News they are working on the request.
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