The oceanfront condominium building that collapsed near Miami had “major structural damage” to a concrete slab below its pool deck that needed to be extensively repaired, according to a 2018 engineering report on the building.
The report was among a series of documents released by the city of Surfside as rescuers continued to dig Saturday through the rubble of the building in an effort to find any of the 159 people who remain unaccounted for after its collapse. At least four people were killed.
Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said firefighters also battled a fire believed to be burning inside the collapsed building’s underground parking garage. Smoke created a haze at the base of the building.
“Cars were probably crushed and we have fluids leaking out and it ignited, having created this nasty fire,” he said.
Emergency responders were monitoring for explosive gases but had detected none, he added.
While the engineering report from the firm of Morabito Consultants did not warn of imminent danger from the damage — and it is unclear if any of the damage observed was responsible for the collapse — it did note the need for extensive and costly repairs to fix the systemic issues with the building.
It said the waterproofing under the pool deck had failed and had been improperly laid flat instead of sloped, preventing water from draining off.
“The failed waterproofing is causing major structural damage to the concrete structural slab below these areas. Failure to replaced the waterproofing in the near future will cause the extent of the concrete deterioration to expand exponentially,” the report said.
The firm recommended that the damaged slabs be replaced in what would be a major repair.
The report also uncovered “abundant cracking and spalling” of concrete columns, beams and walls in the parking garage. Some of the damage was minor, while other columns had exposed and deteriorating rebar. It also noted that many of the building’s previous attempts to fix the columns and other damage with epoxy were marred by poor workmanship and were failing.
Beneath the pool deck “where the slab had been epoxy-injected, new cracks were radiating from the originally repaired cracks,” the report said.