Miami-Dade County Mayor hopes Surfside building collapse was an ‘anomaly’
Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez meet to respond to Surfside condo collapse.

"Right now, we're still very focused on search and rescue."

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava is holding “hope” that the deadly building collapse in Surfside was an “anomaly” rather than a failure of the state’s building code.

Speaking Sunday on Meet the Press, Cava defended Florida’s building code as “very strong” after Chuck Todd asked the mayor if at least all nearby structures built before Hurricane Andrew should be reinspected with a “fine tooth comb.”

Florida revamped its building code after the storm exposed “pretty shoddy” building inspections, Todd noted.

“We have a very strong building code as you know and based on Hurricane Andrew, as you say, we learned so much from that, and buildings subsequent have been built to a very high standard,” Cava said.

“For sure, when we get this information, we may look at what else we might do. At this point, we’re starting with the review of those (40-years-old and plus), and you know, look, this, as far as we know and hope, is an anomaly, but the investigation is going to be ongoing. Right now, we’re still very focused on search and rescue.”

Cava’s national TV appearance comes a day after a 2018 engineering report detailed “major structural damage” within the oceanfront condominium.

The report was among a series of documents released by the city of Surfside as rescuers continued to dig Saturday through rubble in an effort to find any of the 159 people who remain unaccounted for after the collapse. At least four people were killed.

Among other findings, the report  uncovered “abundant cracking and spalling” of concrete columns, beams and walls in the parking garage.

Some of the damage was minor, while other columns had exposed and deteriorating rebar. It also noted that many of the building’s previous attempts to fix the columns and other damage with epoxy were marred by poor workmanship and were failing.

The building was in the midst of its 40-year recertification process at the time of the collapse.

Still, Cava reassured there exists no other “immediate causes of concern” for an additional building collapse, including in the sister building nearby the rubble.

She thanked first responders and the ongoing recovery effort supported by the state and federal government.

“We are very grateful,” Cava said. “Not only the state of Florida has been here in force but the president, on the morning of the disaster, called to offer all possible assistance and by the end of that day, we had FEMA approval. So, we’re working super hard to get everything we need and we have not lacked for any support as well as support from around the world.”

Sunday marks 96 hours since the structure collapsed.

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the Florida State Capitol. After a go with the U.S. Army, the Orlando-native attended the University of Central Florida and earned a degree in American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. He'd love to hear from you. You can reach Jason by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter at @byJasonDelgado.


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