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Condo board knew of building weaknesses before collapse

Photos of missing people at a memorial outside St. Joseph Catholic Church near the Champlain Towers South condo in Surfside, Fla., on Tuesday Associated Press/Photo by Gerald Herbert

Condo board knew of building weaknesses before collapse

A 2018 inspection of Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Fla., found problems with the pool deck that threatened the concrete structure. Earlier this year, the president of the condominium association told neighbors in a letter that the damage would get much worse if they didn’t do something soon. A wing of the 12-story building collapsed on Thursday, and 150 people remain missing in the rubble.

Why didn’t the owners do something about the problems? The letter from condo president Jean Wodnicki hinted at residents’ reluctance to pay for the project, which would cost $80,000-$300,000 per unit. Some owners would have to refinance their mortgages to afford it. “A lot of this work could have been done or planned for in years gone by. But this is where we are now,” she wrote. A definitive cause for the collapse has not yet been identified. President Joe Biden plans to visit the site on Thursday to visit with families waiting for word their loved ones have been found in the rubble.

Lynde Langdon

Lynde is WORLD’s executive editor for news. She is a graduate of World Journalism Institute, the Missouri School of Journalism, and the University of Missouri–St. Louis. Lynde resides with her family in Wichita, Kan.


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