SURFSIDE, FLA. (WSVN) - 7News was able to briefly speak with the top building official in the town of Surfside.
A video posted to TikTok showed the Champlain Tower South condo building moments before the collapse as water poured into the garage.
The town’s top building official, Jim McGuinness, was on the roof of the building just 14 hours earlier.
When asked if there were any signs he replied, “None.”
He was asked if he had any idea as to what may have happened to which he replied, “I don’t want to speculate at this time. Right now it’s under investigation.”
He also stressed he saw no warning signs at an emergency town commission meeting on Friday.
“There was no inordinate amount of equipment or materials or anything on the roof that caught my building official’s eye that would make me alarmed as to this place collapsing,” he said during the meeting.
While multiple investigations into why the condo building came crashing down are underway, 7News obtained a letter sent to owners from the condo board’s president just three months ago.
The letter warned, “The concrete deterioration is accelerating. The roof situation got much worse.”
Unit owners are speaking with 7News saying they had no idea their building was in such bad shape.
“If we had known, if we had any indication,” said survivor Susana Alvarez.
“I’m an advertising guy. I’m not into concrete and steel, you know? That’s why we elect a board of directors and they’re supposed to look out for us,” said survivor Steve Rosenthal.
The board did secure a loan for $15 million to do work that included fixing the roof and replacing damaged concrete, but that work was just getting started.
That is why McGuinness was on the Champlain South Tower’s roof, to look at new anchors put in used by window washers.
Now McGuinness shared with 7News a plan is being drafted to make sure all of the town’s buildings are safe.
“That process is in development right now,” he said. “We have a meeting that’s going on this afternoon, should have some answers for you later today.”
7News has since obtained a letter from Surfside’s Vice Mayor Tina Paul that was sent to another concerned condo board.
The letter reads in part, “We have a team of structural engineers analyzing and collecting data that includes satellite infrastructure monitoring… we will be studying everything.”
The Washington Post reported a majority of Champlain Tower South board members quit back in 2019 because there was squabbling over the repair project.
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