Residents of a 14-story building in Miami were forced to evacuate Thursday evening following an unsafe structure notice, just a year after a nearby building collapsed in June 2021 and killed 98 people.
The 164-unit Port Royale building's residents were given a mandatory notice to vacate by the condo board around 5 p.m. local time and were asked to leave by 7 p.m., per the Miami Herald. Miami Beach spokesperson Melissa Berthier told NBC News that the city planned to post the notice for evacuation around 4 p.m.
The building sits about 1.3 miles away from the site of the Champlain Towers South condo building in Surfside, which left 98 people dead following its tragic collapse in June 2021.
The recent evacuation this week came as those living in the building say they were informed the day before by city officials that the building would have to be evacuated, with no timeline shared, per WPLG-TV.
The building, which is undergoing recertification, was evacuated in response to a structural engineering report where an engineer discovered that a main support beam had shifted 10 months after it was identified for repair. The report noted that a crack in the particular beam had expanded, while other structural supports may also need repair.
"There's cracks in the column, cracks in the base, I mean in the garage, in the two storage garages, there's cracks in the beams, everywhere," Marsh Markaj, a building resident who works in construction, told the station.
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BREAKING: Residents at Port Royale Condominium in #MiamiBeach ordered to evacuate tonight by 7 p.m.
Engineers found “significant damage to a critical structural beam in the parking garage.” @WPLGLocal10 pic.twitter.com/o3WihYHa4Q
— Eden Checkol (@EdenCheckol) October 27, 2022
Following the evacuation, Inspection Engineers Inc. said they're hoping to have "comprehensive shoring" installed within 10 days, with a new inspection to follow.
Engineer Arshad Vioar wrote in an email, per the Associated Press, that the firm "noticed that one of the main beams in the garage had experienced a structural deflection of approximately ½ inch and also the existing crack that was marked for repair had extended."
Following last year's collapse, a new law signed in May requires buildings to be recertified for the first time after 30 years, or 25 years if within 3 miles of the coast. Buildings must then be certified every decade to follow.
Victims and survivors of the collapse of the Champlain Towers South are set to receive a nearly $1 billion settlement, attorneys Harley Tropin and Javier Lopez said in a statement this year, revealing that they were "able to recover in excess of $997 million." In an interview with The New York Times, survivors Angela Gonzalez and her daughter Deven opened up about losing husband/father Edgar Gonzalez in the collapse.
"On days when we're doing fine, I'll forget that my dad's passed away. Or I'll think that he's working long hours, and he's going to come home. But he doesn't," said Deven, 17. "Then you feel guilty, like you're doing good without him. If you don't miss him, it's terrible. But if you miss him, it's terrible, too."
Other buildings have since been evacuated following the tragic events of June 2021, including North Miami's Crestview Towers Condominium, which was deemed "structurally and electrically unsafe" in July 2021. At the time, it was revealed that the building failed the county and city's 40-year recertification process.