Bay Harbor Islands apartment building evacuated after being deemed an unsafe structure

Another residential building in South Florida has been evacuated after officials deemed the building to be unsafe.

The town of Bay Harbor Islands ordered all the residents of the Forum apartment building at 1080 93rd Street out Wednesday after the town’s chief building official found it to be unsafe.

In the wake of the Champlain Towers South condo collapse in Surfside, the town of Bay Harbor Islands began doing mandatory inspections of certain buildings.

An engineering company conducted an examination of the structure, and on Wednesday, the town received the inspection report, which indicated “significant structural defects.”

The report shows large cracks in the pool equipment room, the outside walls and in the corridors of every floor.

There’s also concrete spalling in the boiler room, split concrete in the staircase landing and severe concrete bulging in the corridor.

Building resident Frank Kaltenekker showed Local 10 News just how bad it is.

“It started out as a leak, they came and patched it, and then it caved in,” he says. “There’s two other apartments that have the same problem. The apartment next door to mine is even worse.”

“You know you find a new place to live, but it’s upsetting,” says Kaltenekker.

His building is the second in just as many days to be deemed unsafe and evacuated in Bay Harbor Islands — the other building is just a block away on 93rd Street.

Local 10 News went to the property manger for answers.

“I can’t comment on why the owner is not funding, or paying any money, and fixing whatever needs to get done,” they said.

Now that the building is shut down, five employees, including three part-timers and two full-timers have to find somewhere else to work.

“We all lost our jobs,” Property manager Erick Pamblanco said.

Pamblanco says of the building’s 24 units, 15 of them were occupied.

“I got 15 minutes to get my stuff out of here. Fifteen minutes!” Chris Corrales said. “My wife is 7 months pregnant, man. I got a 3-year-old baby, man. I got a 3-year-old baby. Forced me to a hotel where I don’t know where I’m going to go,”

Corrales told Local 10 News that he pays $1,900 a month for a one-bedroom apartment that has been converted to two bedrooms.

He said he is very upset about having to evacuate his home at the last minute when the building has had structural issues for years and he believes the town should have known about it and done something about it.

Corrales and his family have been put up at the Residence Inn by Marriott in Surfside by Camillus House for two weeks, but they don’t know where they will go after that.

Corrales said he will be able to enter his apartment from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday to collect additional belongings he wasn’t able to get on Wednesday.

According to Corrales, the apartment building is in foreclosure and management has refused to give his deposit back.

He said he moved to South Florida from Tallahassee five months ago for a new job and saw photos of the outside of the building and photos of the fully remodeled apartment unit, so he thought the building was in good shape.

He said once he arrived and saw the building was deteriorating, with broken elevators and an uneven walkway on one floor, among other issues, it was too late to back out.

He has since hired a lawyer.

According to the town of Bay Harbor Islands, the 56-year-old building has been repeatedly cited by the town, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue and Miami-Dade’s elevator safety section for violations, but neither the property owner nor the receiver have fixed the problems.

The dozens of violations date back to 2005, including a roof that wasn’t watertight, an expired fire extinguisher, a sump pump that wasn’t working and an elevator that was being worked on without a permit.

The town is working with the building’s management company, several charities and the court-appointed receiver to support displaced residents and their pets.

View full inspection report below:

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