Partial Roof Collapse of Miami-Dade Apartment Building Causes Evacuation

Devoun Cetoute, Douglas Hanks

Miami Herald

(MCT)

The roof of a three-story apartment building has partially collapsed in northwest Miami-Dade County, authorities say. Firefighters are conducting evacuations.

Around 4 p.m., Miami-Dade police received calls about the collapse at the apartment building at 17500 NW 68th Ave. Police say no injuries have been reported during or after the collapse.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue said it is evacuating the building.

Little information is yet known about the collapse as first responders are actively working the scene.

About 32 people were living in the building, which has been cleared, said René Garcia, the Miami-Dade commissioner whose district includes the building.

He visited the site on Thursday.

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“They’re taking people one-by-one into the building with a firefighter to collect their belongings,” he said. Garcia said the Red Cross was handling living arrangements for the residents.

Miami-Dade property records show the complex was temporarily ordered to vacate in 2013 after being hit with unsafe structure violations.

In 2014, there was a record of a tenant of the complex complaining that “the elevator is not working and has not been addressed and there are mold issues and ceiling deterioration in some of the apartments.”

Those issues appeared to be cleared up — with the building receiving its required 40-year structural recertification two years later in 2015. That was about three years overdue for the complex, built in 1972.

Online notations in the complex’s unsafe structures case include a photo of a notice to vacate in March 2013, with the sticker on the building declaring it an “Unsafe Building.”

The entries don’t detail the violations, which can sometimes be limited to a building becoming years overdue on minor repairs needed to obtain a 40-year recertification.

The records don’t show if the building was actually vacated, and in May 2013 the docket says county inspectors approved paperwork tied to the structural inspection for the pending recertification that was officially granted in June 2015.

A WSVN Channel 7 News live broadcast shows firefighters on the roof near the collapsed area. The building has been cordoned off with police tape, as a row of more than five fire trucks are parked nearby.

Miami-Dade police are blocking Northwest 173rd Street and 68th Avenue in both directions, as well as the southbound portion of Northwest 179th Street and 68th Avenue. The intersection of Northwest 175th Street and 67th Avenue is blocked as well.

This is a developing story and will be updated when more information is available.

©2021 Miami Herald. Visit miamiherald.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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