NORTH MIAMI BEACH – A 10-story apartment complex in North Miami Beach was ordered to shut down and evacuate its residents on Friday after the building submitted a recertification report based on an inspection in January that documented “unsafe structural and electrical conditions.” .
The 156-unit building, Crestview Towers, was built in 1972 and is approximately seven miles from the Surfside collapse site. She presented the report as part of an audit recommended by the office of Mayor Daniella Levine Cava of Miami-Dade County.
“The city has taken great caution in ordering that the building be closed immediately and residents evacuated for their protection while a full structural assessment is carried out and the next steps determined,” said Arthur H. Sorey, City Manager for North Miami Beach in a statement. “Nothing is more important than the safety and lives of our residents, and we will not rest until we have made sure this building is 100 percent safe.”
The recertification report the city received on Friday documented cracks and corrosion in the building’s structure and stated that repairs were needed to support the building’s concrete frame.
In the building’s parking lot, Chief Richard Rand of the North Miami Beach Police told dozens of residents that officers would deliver pizza boxes to them, not cars that would be left overnight.
“As you all know, this building has become unsafe,” said Chief Rand. “The last thing I want to do is find out that another building has collapsed and several people are dead.”
The Crestview Towers evacuation comes as Miami-Dade County reassesses the safety of older buildings. Ms. Levine Cava announced a 30-day audit of all oceanfront buildings 40 years and older under the county’s jurisdiction that excludes cities like Miami and Surfside, where the Champlain Towers South fell.
Although North Miami Beach was outside of her jurisdiction, she conducted the building inspection recommended by Ms. Levine Cava’s office, the mayor said. A notice posted on the North Miami Beach website said that a special session of the city council had been convened for Saturday to discuss the evacuation.
In the run-up to the meeting, the residents hurried to leave the building, tried to pack the bare essentials and coordinate the overnight accommodation. In the parking lot, the children played happily with tablets while their parents spoke quickly on the phone, in English or Spanish.
“I was picking up my son from summer camp when I saw all the cops here,” said Harold J. Dauphin, 46. “I thought there had been a shooting – my only thought was ‘Where should I go?’ I have no idea.”