Several tourists to the Florida coast were voluntarily relocated from their vacation rental outside Sarasota when the building was deemed to be structurally unsafe.
Florida officials have been keenly aware of structural issues since the collapse of a high-rise condominium outside Miami last month that has left close to 100 residents dead and others still missing.
The fourplex is located in Holmes Beach, a popular vacation destination on the water in the Bradenton-Sarasota region. Cracks were noted in the balconies at the building, and a repairman heard a popping sound when working at the structure on Friday.
“One of the tenants called code enforcement and told them he was concerned about the safety of the building,” Holmes Beach Mayor Judy Titsworth told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. “It did appear to be unsafe.”
The owners and vacation rental companies for the units were informed, and they voluntarily relocated all of the tourists to other properties in the area.
Holmes Beach building official Neal Schwartz told WFLA that a repairman doing air conditioning work on one of the balconies heard a pop. The worker then went into the yard and was alarmed at what he saw.
“[He] saw a spalling on the first living level above the parking garage that had separated from the building,” Schwartz said. That’s when city officials were called in.
Inspectors found some aging, some wood that had gotten soft, and a supporting beam that was cracked, among other things.
“Not that it was going to come apart, but we just want to be absolutely sure,” he said.
City officials took a safe and cautious approach to the situation, leading to the voluntary relocation of the tourists.
“We saw what the worst possibility will happen in Surfside, and nobody wants to see that happen again,” Schwartz said. “This by no means is anything like Surfside. This is just us doing our due diligence to make sure this is safe, and that is what we are doing.”