The structural engineer in charge of investigating the causes of the tragedy warns that the small foundational walls of the building that are still standing remain a risk.
First, at a glance, until a month ago, there was the Champlain Tower on the beach in Surfaid, Miami-Dade County. However, the four foundational walls of the building are still partially standing. They could be a danger to passers-by in the area, according to an expert.
The Municipality of Surfside hired structural engineer Alyin Kilsheimer to investigate the causes of the collapse that killed at least 96 people - plus two who are still missing. While the engineer and his team carry out their investigations (the final results of which could take several months), part of their obligations is to warn the authorities of any possible risk. And so they have.
According to the letter signed by Kilsheimer that was sent to the authorities of Surfside and Miami-Dade County, in the currently vacant lot, foundation walls remain the four sides that framed what the foundations of the building were.
The engineer indicates that with these walls there, anyone walking through the area could be in danger.
“We believe that there is a potentially dangerous situation at the site, where the walls can collapse. Basically, at the moment, these walls create things that would be like a giant bathroom on earth. Of course, it was not what they were designed for. If the surrounding terrain is saturated with rainwater, the situation could become dangerous, ” the letter says.
The text explains that when vehicular traffic opens on Collins Avenue, something that could happen as early as this weekend, if there is an accumulation of heavy trucks, the walls can collapse at any moment, putting at risk whoever is walking through the area.
“If the walls fail, it will most likely occur in explosion mode over a substantial extension of the length in the above situation. This will put people in an open hole, and at the same time those who walk or can drive are at great risk.
When the local press asked the expert about what he recommended in this situation, he said that if traffic reopens. There is no type of limitation to circulation in the area, he would tell people to walk on the sidewalk in front and not in front of where the Champlain tower was.
“If the wall were to collapse, or pivot substantially into the basement, the dirt held under the street, and the sidewalk could move with it, which could cause parts of the street to collapse and could seriously compromise the utilities under the street. Due to loss of support ”, explains the letter.
Local authorities have not yet commented on this warning from the leading specialist working on investigating the landslide. It is known that the plan is to reopen closed traffic, but it is not known whether it will have to be reopened in whole or in part. It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post. At the moment, the area remains fenced.