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Miami-area condo building evacuated after being found unsafe by inspector

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A condominium building in North Bay Village near Miami that had been deemed unsafe for human habitation finished evacuating residents Tuesday, four days after the declaration. 

The three-story Majestic Isle condominium was declared unfit to live in Friday, a week after an April 14 inspection for the structure’s 60-year recertification found sagging floors and termite damage. 

In addition, a rain-fed roof drain leak earlier in April caused a partial ceiling collapse and the flooding of five of the 36 total units. There were around 55 residents living in the building’s other 31 condo units, who have since evacuated.

Residents will be allowed back in for a complete move out at a later date. This process will be staggered, and overseen by North Bay Village police, so as to ensure the load on the structure remains light.

The president of the Majestic Isle Condominium Association, Petra Bouwen, told WPLG-TV, a Miami ABC affiliate, that she did not know why the April 14 inspection failed.

“We just had a permit, our roof was completely repaired. We were managing. I feel we were managing. Of course, it was not enough and if I could avoid that at all costs, I would have,” Ms. Bouwen said.

Questioned by residents at a public meeting Monday, North Bay Village Mayor Brent Latham brought up the June 24, 2021, collapse of the 12-story Champlain Towers South condominium building in nearby Surfside, which killed 98 people.

“We don’t have the credentials, the ability, the wherewithal, or really, the moral currency, to undermine an engineering decision. That’s just not something we do in the post-Champlain Towers era,” Mr. Latham said. 

Residents of Majestic Isle were irked by the lack of time to evacuate.

“They didn’t give us enough time to leave,” first-floor resident Mariela Stenson told WPLG-TV, admitting however that she did not “want to go back, to tell you the truth, because the apartment, the building is really bad.”

Fellow unit owner Lenny Fagundo told WFOR-TV, a Miami CBS affiliate, that “I think they jumped the gun, they could’ve checked more thoroughly. But don’t shut the whole building down and kick everybody out.”

Whether or not the condominium will be repaired or razed is still uncertain.

“The ultimate outcome of the building lies in the hands of the condo owners, who have to get together and decide what exactly they want to do with their building,” Mr. Latham told the New York Times on Tuesday.

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Miami-area condo building evacuated after being found unsafe by inspector Reviewed by RP on April 26, 2023 Rating: 5

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