Surfside pool area remains suspect
Contractor reported the basement garage and pool equipment room in bad shape before collapse
The pool area remains a suspect in the investigation as to what caused the deadly collapse of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Florida on June 24, 2021.
Experts say it will take months to unravel all of the factors in what led to the partial building collapse that decimated at least 55 of the 136 apartments in the 12-story building, killing a confirmed 78 people, with 62 still unaccounted for at press time.
Among those still missing is 40-yearold Cassie Stratton who according to reports made a phone call around 1:30 a.m. to her husband to tell him that the pool had caved in.
From the balcony of their fourth- floor apartment overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, she told her husband that the building was shaking and she saw a sinkhole where part of the pool area out her window used to be. Then the line went dead.
Another resident, Sara Nir, who is among the survivors, told the Washington Post that she heard loud knocking noises shortly before 1 a.m., and around 1:14 a.m., she heard a noise that sounded like a wall was crashing down, so she left her ground-floor apartment to complain to a security guard in the lobby. While in the lobby, about a minute later she heard a very large boom and saw that part of the surface level parking and part of the pool
Paul Pennington of Vac-Alert Industries displays the company’s safety vacuum release device, commonplace on commercial pools. The system allows air into the valve, reducing holding force and increasing swimmer safety. See story on page 17.