Experts Discuss Building Safety in Twin Tiers After Florida Condo Collapse

Local News

ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – In a matter of hours, fears over what happened in Surfside, Florida — a 12-story condominium building partially collapsing — seeped into the minds of American’s across the country.

The collapse of the South Tower on Thursday, June 24 is responsible for killing 10 and leaving at least 150 unaccounted for. While the cause of the collapse of the 55 units in the building has not yet been determined, building inspectors working across the Twin Tiers said they want to reassure residents there’s no cause for concern regarding structures here at home.

“The houses that were built back in the day, they’re very well built,” Building Inspector in Erin, New York John McCracken said. “When you look at the construction, most of them are a heavy timber or stone foundation. That’s sturdy foundation.”

According to McCracken, rental units, single-family homes and commercial buildings are inspected numerous times before doors are opened to welcome residents and visitors inside.

“We inspect from the footers all the way up through,” McCracken told 18 News. “Say it’s a single family home — a single family home would usually have 20 inspections throughout the whole process of it being built.”

For commercial buildings, that number is higher. McCracken said the number of inspections can range from 50 to 200 at least, noting that inspectors are often on site two to three times a week, if not every day.

“For commercial buildings, anything concrete, we require a third-party inspector who specializes in testing concrete [to check the foundation],” McCracken said.

Elmira inspectors also told 18 News they’re currently looking into all rental properties to ensure each building is secure. Inspectors also said they check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors as well as peeling paint.

Regarding the tragedy in Surfside, experts, including McCracken, said there are numerous reasons the condo could have collapsed.

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