Jonathan Blinky, Jasmine, Jonathan Hamilton discussed on Morning Edition


That's something we cannot stop. We have to continue with that Pope. We should point out in past earthquakes around the world. Search crews have pulled people out alive from building seven or eight days after the fact and I imagine that's what's underpinning some of the hope. Here. Tell me about the rescue workers. You've been meeting Well, it was raining heavily. When I met Jonathan Blinky. He's a supervisor with the urban search and rescue Florida Task Force. He's working nights here. He still had grime under his nails. He looked tired with glassy eyes. With his fifth day of work, and he's been out and about for around 18 hours. Like most of this team, he is more used to hurricane recovery. This has been different. One of the main things that stood out to me and the file was and Is that once if we found the victim pretty much the whole site shuts down and the goal line our entire crew from all the different task forces. There's like eight And pay their respects. The whole pile will shut down all the equipment, and it was pretty Yes, you can say emotional. It's also physically grueling work. Most of the teams work 12 hours on 12. Hours off, I sat with captain Adam Brown from Hillsborough County Fire Rescue and Jonathan Hamilton from Tampa Fire Rescue. As they were taking a break scarfing down dinner. They told me they are also on a steady diet of ibuprofen. For the aches. These crews specialized in removing the large concrete sections. They use heavy lift equipment at disaster sites like this one. Hamilton says. This is a bigger and more complex collapse than they typically get called in to handle, like six a.m. that it was kind of looking around, and I was thinking, man, I'm really tired, you know, and I looked around. I think I can see it in a bunch of guys. Eyes are the same same situation, but The sun came up, and once the sun came up like everybody's got a second wind, and everybody just started, you know, pounding away. It's the magnitude of the disaster, but also the uninterrupted nature of the rescue work that is challenging hurricanes allow rescue workers breaks down time. Collapsed. Building the size of this 12 storey condominium is a race against time as they search for the missing, captain, Brown says. It's also a really delicate balancing act. Every time. We move something. Rock boulder piece of metal. Changes the whole dynamic of the entire pile of rubble. But it is a very unsafe thing to do you're talking about Thousands of tons of material. So we do have to take our time. The process isn't just physically slow, but they're trying to be respectful, Blinky says. They're just not digging through rubble. There's 15 through thousands of fragmented and shattered pieces of people's lives. Once we start getting through the roof and the layers and the individual floors are a little bit different than that gets into Personal long pictures of their kids and their wedding pictures and stuff like that. It makes it a little bit easier for the family. No. Well, all of those belongings are logged given to forensic investigators and eventually will be returned to the families. Okay, That's a little bit of good news. Let me ask you. Lastly, The Wall Street Journal today is reporting about something that happened at that tower last April. What's the story? The president of the Champlain, South Tower's Condo association, told residents in April they're building was in desperate disrepair and urged them to pay the $15 million in assessments needed to fix structural problems. Okay, NPR's Jasmine Garza in Miami Beach. Thank you, Jasmine. Thank you so much. I'm going to bring in John pissed arino. Now He's a structural engineer who's been retained by an attorney to investigate this collapse. He's investigated many similar situations around the country. And I will note for listeners that he is unable to disclose who has retained him at this time. Good morning, Mr P. Serena, Thanks for being with us. Good morning. How does an investigation like this start? Well, once the site is cleared and turned over. Then an investigative group team made of many different engineers and individuals will will have a organizational meeting and decide how to go about, Um Taking out the evidence. If you will, and taking it, maybe to a yard or feel some place and try to reconstruct the building and and look at the critical pieces to see if they can figure out How each piece failed and what the significance was. And normally, we would be taking samples of strength of concrete. If steel is corroded that type of thing and have a laboratory analysis and then damn near the bottom, we would probably have a geo tech engineering firm. Do boring is underneath the building into the foundation areas in the piles and see what the condition of the the soil and the foundation is at that time as well. I can hear from your answer that you are familiar with situations of this sort. And I wonder, Of course, the big question is How did this happen? But beneath that there are smaller questions, which I would guess are equally important. What are the questions at the front of your mind right now? Well, we have the 40 Year re certification program that's been in effect for over 40. 45 years here in Dade County, which means that building owners are supposed to maintain their buildings from the time they're built, and the 40 year recertification is just a line in the sand. To give the building officials some authority to say if you haven't completed your investigation or your certification, he can issue violations or even, uh, withdrawing. I can see the building so that system has worked very well. Many, many buildings have gone through it. Structural engineers. Who are familiar with these kinds of buildings can go undone into buildings and look for telltale symptoms that, um, reinforced concrete will show if it's being damaged or for settlement. Or some other condition going on and then make a decision as to whether or not as significant but any rate or whatever they find when they find it. It then needs to be repaired in this should be going on from Day one when the buildings are built, and they're not supposed to wait 40 years and then all of a sudden start looking around What's wrong with my building? But some the majority of you know the buildings here in South Florida. Have gone through that, and there are the 40 year old building. There are some that have not yet that need to, but that's the safeguards we have. And when you hear that the Wall Street Journal reports in April The president of the South Tower's condo association, told residents the building was in desperate disrepair. What does that bring to mind for you? Well, I mean, I can't comment on this particular building, but I will say that other buildings that I've been involved in Where the repairs are significant, and that kind of number comes up. It still remains if there's but if there's any kind of a potential life safety issue, the fact that repairs are necessary isn't really The issue. The building official has to be informed and whether repairs are being made that have anything to do with the stability, the building or not, Um, that type of those type of repairs are ongoing on many buildings right now. In South Florida, you know, even at that level, but but it's not necessarily have anything to do with the building itself. Me in jeopardy. Okay. The north Tower of this building was constructed around the same time as the South tower that collapsed last Thursday, built as the town's mayor, has said, by the same builder. Maybe, he said with the same materials. Maybe, he said with the same plans. We're looking at the north tower, help with the investigation into what happened at the South tower. Do you plan on doing that?.

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