SURFSIDE – Federal
investigators discussed their investigation as the one-year
mark for the Surfside condo collapse approaches.
Part of the Champlain
Towers near Miami Beach collapsed in the middle of the night
on June 24. 98 people were killed.
It was the third deadliest building collapse in the U.S. --
behind The World Trade Center attack and the Oklahoma City
Investigators with the National Institute of Standards and
Technology (NIST) said the point of the probe is to not only
find out what happened and who may be responsible for this
deadly collapse, but it’s also to prevent similar tragedies
at other high-rises.
“What we have so far is there were likely
several contributing factors to the collapse,” Glenn Bell,
the associate lead investigator, said.
“Our goal is to
identify the original of evidence specimens in the building
when possible,” NIST’s David Goodwin said.
From concrete chunks, pieces of metal, and ground samples to
interviews, building records, and surveillance video,
experts are looking at everything -- using computer
software, drones, and sensors to put everything together.
The physical evidence is at a warehouse in Miami, where
it’ll be sent off for testing.
“These tests will be performed at various outside labs at
universities, companies and government agencies,” lead
investigator Judith Mitrani-Reiser said.
Congress gave NIST $22 million in emergency funding to
complete a report and give recommendations for the future.
“We know that to bring about real change and avert future
failures, we need to ensure that improvements in codes and
standards are actually carried into practice,”
Mitrani-Reiser added. “Code adoption, enforcement, education
and quality insurance are some of these necessary steps.”
There’s still a long way to go. Teams plan to finish their
investigations in 2024. Miami-Dade police are carrying out
their own separate investigation into the deaths.
Last month, attorneys for the families who lost relatives in
the collapse reached a $1.02 billion settlement.
Families of victims will have to file claims, as the money
will not be split evenly. The goal is to begin distributing
money by September.
The money comes from several sources, including insurance
companies, engineering companies and a luxury condominium
that had recently been built next door. None of the parties
are admitting wrongdoing.