Recently added weight to the roof was the 'straw that broke the spine' of the collapsed Florida condominium, a recent lawsuit alleges

·2 min read
Aerial view of Champlain Towers South destruction
An aerial view showing search-and-rescue efforts after the partial collapse of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Florida, on June 24. CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images
  • A new lawsuit was filed against the Champlain Towers Condominium Association.

  • The lawsuit alleges weight added to the roof was "the straw that broke the spine" of the complex.

  • A structural-engineering firm said roof repairs were part of the condo's restoration plan.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

A new lawsuit alleges that recent renovations and added heavy materials to the top of the Champlain Towers South condominium were the final "straw that broke the spine" of the building and led to its collapse.

The lawsuit, filed by a building resident named Steve Rosenthal againsts the Champlain Towers Condominium Association, alleges that "weight bearing load" was added atop the condo using a crane without properly testing, inspecting, and evaluating the structural integrity of the building.

The owners of the building were days away from beginning to pay for at least $9 million in repairs that had been recommended by a structural-engineering firm's 40-year building repair and restoration plan. Engineers from the firm said some of the aforementioned roof repairs had begun, but concrete restoration had not begun at the time of the condo's collapse.

The lawsuit also alleges that the condominium association contracted a company to install a transmission device or antenna on top of the building, once again "without proper investigation as to the potential or likely impacts of such activity."

As of Tuesday morning, 11 people were confirmed dead from the disaster and 150 were unaccounted for. At least 300 first responders have been working rotating shifts at the scene, according to Miami-Dade Fire Rescue. Florida's chief financial officer, Jimmy Patronis, said the rescue attempt was the "largest-ever deployment of task resources" in Florida history not in response to a hurricane.

President Joe Biden and the first lady, Jill Biden, are expected to visit the site Thursday to survey the damage.

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Natalie Musumeci contributed reporting.

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