Renowned structural engineer says multiple factors may have contributed to Florida building collapse

1 year ago

The structural engineer hired by the city of Surfside, Florida to inspect the site of the 12-story Champlain Towers South condominium tower collapse said Tuesday there may be multiple factors behind the tragedy.

“I feel very comfortable that we'll be able to figure out, maybe not an individual cause, but two or three things that contributed and/or caused this failure,” Allyn Kilsheimer, who investigated other disasters such as the Oklahoma City federal building bombing in 1995 and the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, told CNBC's "The News with Shepard Smith."

"What we're looking for is the trigger that caused the building to collapse and then see how the things that might not have been perfect, could help contribute to that collapse," Kilsheimer added. He is the founder of KCE Structural Engineers in Washington, D.C.

Two months before the 12-story Champlain Towers South condominium tower collapsed, the condo's president sent a letter to residents warning them about structural issues. She pointed out "concrete deterioration" in the building's parking garage and elsewhere was "accelerating" and damage had "gotten significantly worse" since an inspection three years ago. In that 2018 inspection, the engineer found cracked columns, beams, and walls in the parking garage and "major structural damage" under the pool.

As of Tuesday evening, 12 people are confirmed dead, and 149 others remain unaccounted for.

Kilsheimer told host Shepard Smith that he still doesn't have a working theory on what caused the collapse.

"The bottom line is that, in a situation like this, there is an elaborate number and extensive number of things that you have to consider, and it takes a very long time to get enough information to do all of that, and we have just started that process," he said.

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