Florida condo collapse sparks conversation about local building safety

Local News

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Exhausted searchers are working around the clock in Surfside, Florida to find any bodies still beneath the rubble of the collapsed condo that collapsed last month.

Tuesday morning brought more grim news, with the discovery of an additional victim. It brings the number of confirmed deaths to 95. Fourteen people are still missing. In the meantime, investigators are still working to figure out what caused the building to collapse.

In Peoria, the deadly collapse is raising questions about the safety of buildings. Joe Dulin, the assistant community development director for the city, said problems were reported years ago at a parking garage on Monroe Street in downtown Peoria.

“About two and a half, three years ago, we got a complaint about the structure itself that there were some issues,” said Dulin.

Concerns included cracks in the structure and concrete crumbling. Dulin said the owner was responsive and addressed it.

“They had a structural engineer assess it, [and] they put up some braces,” said Dulin.

Dulin said last June, there were more maintenance issues, and again in the last month and a half. The city is now working with the owner to make sure it’s fixed.

“We let them know that they need to fix that, but they also just need to get another structural engineer report to show that the overall building is safe, and those are just maintenance and not major issues with the integrity of the building,” said Dulin.

WMBD reached out to the owner about plans to fix it and did not hear back.

Dulin said the city mainly takes a reactive approach for commercial properties like the parking garage.

“Unfortunately due to staffing levels, we have three building inspectors for the entire city of Peoria,” said Dulin.

He said those inspectors focus on new developments.

“The best kind of way we can be on top of buildings is really on that front end when it’s first built,” said Dulin.

He said inspectors step in when there are complaints or concerns. Dulin encourages people to be aware of their surroundings and report issues if needed.

There’s a hearing next month with the owners of the parking garage on Monroe Street. Dulin said the city will ask for a structural engineer report and the owner will have about a month to make corrections.

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