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Champlain Towers South Residents Warned About Concrete Damage Months Before Collapse

MIAMI (CBSMiami/CNN) - The president of the Champlain Towers South Associaton warned residents more than two months ago the concrete deterioration in the building had gotten significantly worse since the 2018 initial inspection.

Board President Jean Wodnicki addressed the situation in a letter to neighbors on April 9th.

"The concrete deterioration is accelerating. The roof situation got much worse, so extensive roof repairs had to be incorporated," says the letter, acquired by CNN.

Wodnicki further describes issues facing the building saying, "When you can visually see the concrete spalling (cracking), that means that the rebar holding it together is rusting and deteriorating beneath the surface."

"At no time did experts either from the town or the engineering firm describe the threats as dangerous. They never relayed there was an imminent threat that could cause failure to the building. There is still one board member missing with one of her family members. Other members of the board are safe. They are focused on caring for their friends and neighbors, their process in this tragedy too. It's an incredible time for them. We continue to pray for miracles," said association board spokesman Max Marcucci on Tuesday.

A structural field survey performed in 2018 by Morabito Consultants Inc., found several things wrong with the building, including major structural damage below the pool deck, according to the report.

"The failed waterproofing is causing major structural damage to the concrete structural slab below these areas," the report says.

In a statement to CNN since the collapse, Morabito Consultants wrote that the report "detailed significant cracks and breaks in the concrete."

The report didn't say whether the structure was at risk of collapse, but the group said it provided an estimate to the condo association to "make the extensive and necessary repairs."

The April letter seeks to explain a $15 million special assessment to condo owners that would be discussed at an upcoming meeting. The initial scope of the 2018 work estimates had expanded, the letter says.

"Other previously identified projects have been rolled under the main project. New problems have been identified. Also, costs go up every year. This is how we have gone from the estimated $9,128,433.60 cited in Morabito's 2018 report, to the much larger figure we have today," it stated.

The board later approved the $15 million in repairs, according to an assessment letter obtained by CNN.

(©2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company, contributed to this report.)

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