Champlain Towers South in Miami has caved in

This sounds like it could be awful.

Part of Champlain Towers South, located on Collins Avenue in Surfside, Florida, caved in just after 1 a.m. on Thursday. At least eight people have been taken to hospital, ABC7 reported.

The building is just one block from Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump’s Miami pad.

Videos and images posted on Twitter showed rubble from the caved-in building, and fire department personnel swarming the area.

…Is this actually relevant to the story, or just a bit of gossip? Because I’d expect better from a legitimate journalist if the latter is the case.

Holy crap, looked at the Twitter feed. Do they know what happened?

I’ve driven passed there a ton of times, my grandparents used to have a condo on Collins about 5 blocks south.

Shocking stuff. I believe it was built in 1981. Hope they can figure out why it came down. As a precaution, I sure hope the entire building will be evacuated until we know. So far one dead, but it would be quite a miracle if there isn’t more. In the middle of the night, too.

Wow. Buildings don’t just collapse like that. Something’s seriously wrong, here, and I hope they get to the bottom of it quickly.

I presume from the name that there’s also a “Champlain Towers North”, built to substantially the same design? That needs to be evacuated, too. And they need to be taking a close look at any other buildings designed by the same architects, or built by the same construction company.

Yes, and yes:
Champlain Towers - North Condos for Sale and Condos for Rent in Surfside
Built at the same time, with the same design.

My guess? Someone made some “modifications”, based on the belief that money trumps the laws of physics. My father-in-law, a structural engineer, was once physically assaulted by some rich asshole after he refused to approve the installation of a hot tub on the asshole’s balcony. My FiL had the audacity to say that there was no way that the balcony and the building as a whole would able to bear the weight, and no amount of money would change his mind.

It’s a very third world kind of thing, in my mind. It happens more often than you imagine in places like India, Vietnam, Nepal, etc. Where building codes DO exist, (and many places they don’t), they are rarely enforced. It often comes out that it was approved as a 4story structure but the developer added a few extra floors and other modifications. Or, it’s been so corrupted by official taking bribes, it becomes more, ‘pay a big enough fee, build whatever you like!’

Fingers crossed there aren’t more people buried in the rubble!

Pretty scary.

Or just based on an ignorance of the laws of physics, and thinking that two things were equivalent when they weren’t, like with the Hyatt Regency walkway collapse.

That’s what I thought of too.

What it tells me, sitting here in Indiana, is that it’s probably a more upscale area and not a run-down slum that hasn’t been maintained in decades. Among the horror and tragedy my thoughts run to “WTF happened?!?” You just know that this is going to appear on one of the one-hour documentary formats about disasters at some future point.

So… not hugely relevant, but indicative of the socio-economic context of this disaster.

Well, yes, they actually do collapse like that, but not without a reason. Something led to this disaster, MOST buildings DON’T collapse, they stay standing for a very, very long time.

Don’t know if the presumed “Champlain Towers Northneeds to be evacuated, but it certainly does need to be inspected. Two buildings of the same design may or may not be at the same risk. What maintenance has been done? Modifications? Renovations? Other work? If the collapsed building has been undergoing renovation recently and the other hasn’t that could be a major factor in what happened, and the other building may not be at risk at this time.

I’ve got the TV on. At this point they’ve said about 15 families were able to self-rescue last night. There are multiple injured on site. At least two people have been pulled from the actual rubble. They aren’t certain how many people are missing because with entire families in this units there may not be anyone outside the building to ask about inhabitants (there was a similar issue with the Grenfell Tower fire).

Oh, and now a thunderstorm is rolling in … because this isn’t exciting enough I guess.

They are also doing emergency evaluations on the part of the building still standing and, I’m presuming, evacuating those units.

My first suspicion, actually, is that the design is sound, but that the contractor who built it substituted lower-quality (and cheaper) materials instead of what the design called for, and pocketed the difference. But it could be many other things, from a shoddy design, to a design that was faulty in ways that couldn’t reasonably have been anticipated, to a misunderstanding of the design somewhere between the architects and the builders, to the builder being ripped off by the suppliers, to deliberate sabotage.

Not relevant and in retrospect, I wish I’d grabbed a different part of the story to quote.

55 units collapsed. This is just terrible. I’m very eager to learn the cause.

Or, somebody set off a bomb. That’s unlikely or we’d be hearing reports of an explosion, but nothing can be ruled out at this point.

My money is on an engineering or fabrication error.

My uneducated thought about the collapse: it could be built with steel reinforced concrete. Over the years, the concrete may have had enough small cracks to let the salt water in and corrode the steel. It is facing the ocean which exposes it to the salt water, which is very bad for a lot of materials.
Just an uneducated guess though.

I’m pretty sure salt is bad for concrete itself, too. There are ways to mitigate that, of course, or nothing could ever be built near the ocean. But yeah, it’s possible that, for instance, the designer was from inland, and didn’t know about proper salt protection.

Video of collapse. I’m also hearing speculation that a sinkhole may be to blame.

Tragic as this is, the collapse opens an opportunity for astute condo buyers seeking a bargain.

“Unique Opportunity in boutique Bldg undergoing lux upgrades”

Wow, that’s horrifying. And a sinkhole seems very likely.

I think if it was a design issue it would have come up sometime in the last 40 years. What would have changed in that time? I’m thinking something in the soil- sinkhole perhaps. I doubt a retrofit was responsible.