Watch CBS News

Expert 90% sure geological conditions did not cause Surfside condo collapse

Expert 90% sure geological conditions did not cause Surfside condo collapse
Expert 90% sure geological conditions did not cause Surfside condo collapse 02:45

MIAMI - The investigation into the Champlain Towers South collapse is not quite at the finish line. Even so, new information shared at Tuesday night's Surfside commission meeting begins to rule out one potential contributing factor.

"We're 90% sure the geological conditions did not contribute to the collapse of Champlain South," said Surfside's hired forensic engineer Allyn Kilsheimer.

He updated the town on his findings, believing the ground was not a root cause of the collapse. His investigation, though, reveals problems with the original design of the building more than 40 years ago.

"We also know there were design mistakes in those drawings based on the building code the building was designed for in the first place," Kilsheimer said.

Town leaders tell us the same group that designed Champlain Towers South was also responsible for several other condo buildings in Surfside, including Champlain Towers North.

A resident that moved in six months ago spoke to CBS4 on Wednesday. David says he was told a recent inspection of that building was done to ensure it was safe.

"When we moved into the building showing the diagrams that everything is supposed to be good," shared David. "We moved in thinking everything was fine. We believe everything is fine."

He believes the work Surfside's doing to find answers to how Champlain Towers South collapsed on June 24th, 2021, claiming 98 souls, is vital for all in South Florida.

"We should be aware and do our best to avoid structural problems in the future," added David.

Finding answers drives the town to continue its investigation to provide families and residents closure.

"And also how to prevent it from happening to any other building along our coast or any of our coastlines," said Surfside commissioner Fred Landsman.

Landsman spoke with CBS4 outside Town Hall on Wednesday. He explains the next steps for Kilshemier's investigation.

"He needs to do the testing on the materials from the ground level up to determine if the materials," said Landsman. "The way the construction was put together and the plan itself was or was not correct. It's likely to end up being two or three things that contributed to this."

Landsman shared two barriers to finishing the town's independent investigation. One is access to the materials on and off-site. Kilsheimer is working with the federal organization NIST in charge of the primary investigation to gain access.

The other hurdle is funding. Landsman says the town has spent nearly three million financing its independent investigation. The commission hopes for outside help from the community if another round of funding is needed.

On Tuesday night, they approved an additional 575 thousand dollars with the stipulation Kilsheimer is guaranteed the access.

Landsman tells CBS4 that NIST will likely finish its investigation by 2025.

The town wants to continue its investigation to provide answers sooner rather than later to the victims' families and residents.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.