Video shows water pouring into Miami condo garage before collapse

Video shows garage under Miami condo strewn with concrete debris and water pouring in just seven minutes before collapse: Engineers say pool deck may have caved first and brought the rest of the building with it

  • Video shows water gushing into the garage below Champlain Towers South in Miami’s Surfside neighborhood
  • The footage was recorded at 1.18am on June 24 – seven minutes before the building collapsed at 1.25am  
  • It was recorded and posted to TikTok by Adriana Sarmiento, who said she was swimming in hotel pool nearby when she heard a noise and went to investigate
  • Sarmiento said she had tried to notify residents about the danger but they thought she was exaggerating 
  • Engineers are still weighing up what caused collapse which killed at least 18 people  
  • One theory is the pool deck collapsed in on itself, onto the garage, and brought the building down with it 
  • Once the first part of the building crumbled, it dragged down the other side of it, the experts say 
  • There wasn’t anything structurally wrong with the second part of the building that fell beforehand 
  • What caused the pool deck or parking garage to implode is still uncertain but it may be down to a few things 
  • One contributing factor could have been corroded rebar – which was found two days before the collapse 
  • Another could be spalling in the columns that held the whole thing up – that was found in 2018 by an engineer 

A new video purports to show water gushing from the ceiling of the doomed Miami condo building’s garage while concrete debris litters the floor just seven minutes before it collapsed.

The video was recorded at 1.18am on June 24 and zooms in on the entrance to the gated garage beneath the north side of Champlain Towers South – behind which water rains from the ceiling as if blasted from a fire hose. The building was reported to have crumbled at around 1.25am. 

The alarming footage was posted to TikTok by Adriana Sarmiento who told Chicago news station WLS-TV that she was on vacation with her husband and was swimming in hotel pool of the Bluegreen Vacations Solara Surfside Resort pool when she heard a noise and went to investigate. 

Sarmiento said she had tried to notify residents about the danger but they thought she was exaggerating because ‘things like that don’t happen in America.’

An engineer investigating the Miami condo collapse said on Tuesday that the pool may have caved first and brought the rest of the building down with it, as a second witness said that is what she saw before she ran for her life while debris fell around her.

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A new video purports to show water gushing from the ceiling of the Miami condo building’s garage while concrete debris litters the floor

The new footage was taken in the minutes before the north side of Champlain Towers South collapsed last Thursday

The video was taken at 1:18 a.m. on June 24 from across 88th Street and zooms in on the entrance to the gated garage – behind which water rains from the ceiling as if blasted from a fire hose

The building was reported to have collapsed around 1:25 a.m.

The video then shows the aftermath after the building collapsed as a woman cries and a man says: ‘Oh my god!’

The rubble after Miami condo building collapse is pictured in a video posted to TikTok on Tuesday

Allyn E. Kilsheimer is investigating the Champlain Towers South collapse for the town of Surfside. She told The Washington Post on Tuesday that the pool theory – first described by the husband of a woman who is still missing and since verified by a second witness – is viable. 

‘There is a possibility that part of the pool [area] came down first and then dragged the middle of the building with it, and that made that collapse. And then once the middle of the building collapsed, number two, then the rest of the building didn’t know how to stand up and it fell down also, number three,’ Kilsheimer said.

Her description matches what two women who were inside the building when it collapsed have said. 

The pool had been leaking into the ground beneath it, according to a 2018 report, and there was corroded rebar and concrete spalling in the underground parking lot that was next to it and directly beneath it, all of which experts say could have contributed to its collapse. Above shows how it crumbled – at ground level – into the underground parking level beneath it

Before and after images show the portion of the building that collapsed which was above the underground parking garage. Engineers are considering the theory that the pool deck and the underground garage beneath the portion of the building caved in, bringing down the structure 

Engineers are now looking at whether or not the pool deck that was next to the collapsed portion collapsed first, bringing the building in on itself from the center. The shaded red portion is the part of the building that fell first. The yellow section fell second and the purple section fell last. Engineers say that there was nothing structurally wrong with the purple structure but that the pull from the rest of the building dragged it down 

The underground parking garage ran beneath the entire building but not all of it collapsed. The spot that seems to have buckled is where leaking water was identified in the 2018 report 

Portion of the building that was dragged down by the collapse, the easternmost portion that’s closest to the ocean (far left) was structurally sound, according to engineers. It only fell because it was dragged down by the center portion (middle) 

A close up of the rubble taken on June 24, just a few hours after the collapse, show how part of the pool deck had given way to and crumbled 

Cassondra Billedeau-Stratton was in the building when it started shaking at around 1.30am on Thursday. 

She called her husband Mike and told him she was watching from her window and saw what looked like a sink hole form around the pool. Seconds later, the line went dead. She is yet to be accounted for. 

Sara Nir, another resident, told the Post that she saw something similar. She first she heard a number of knocking sounds that grew more intense and eventually sounded like a wall falling down. 

She then heard a large crash so went to the lobby with her two kids to ask a security guard what was going on. 

Sara Nir said she saw a hole form next to the pool and the entire underground parking garage collapse 

She says that while in the lobby, she watched the pool deck implode on itself, falling onto the underground parking garage. The building started to fall and she and her kids ran for their lives. They all survived. 

In an interview with CNN on Wednesday, she said: ‘I saw all of the garage collapse. I couldn’t believe it.  ran back to the hallway told my kids don’t move.. I was screaming, ‘it’s an earthquake’.’ 

Experts who have viewed video of the collapse are unanimous in their belief that the collapse started with a problem at the bottom of the building – either in the parking garage or on the pool deck. 

There are some theories that the eroded columns in the parking garage may have also been partially to blame. 

Others say though that the columns were in tact and that once the building started to implode. 

Some say there is evidence of punching shear failure which is when the slabs above a column fail and the column punches through it. 

They think as much because some of the collapsed columns remain in place. 

That would not explain the collapse or the cause of it, but paints a picture of how the building might have fallen.

Other engineers also say there had to have been one or a combination of other contributing factors, like corroded rebar – which was identified in the pool equipment room, beneath the pool and next to the garage, 36 hours before it collapsed. 

Emergency workers conduct search and rescue efforts at the site of a partially collapsed residential building in Surfside, near Miami Beach, Florida, U.S

Rescue teams continue to go through the debris, looking for survivors. So far, 18 bodies have been identified. There are 149 people who remain unaccounted for and the teams pulled more bodies from the rubble on Tuesday night but it’s unclear how many

Rescue teams using buckets to get through the huge mountains of debris that remain on top of the collapsed site, nearly a week after the collapse 

A crane prepares to remove a load of debris and household items, as search and rescue personnel work atop the rubble at the Champlain Towers South condo building where scores of people remain missing almost a week after it partially collapsed, Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Civil engineers who viewed the view told the Post that the first part of the building to fall was where the failure was, and that the second portion only fell because it was dragged down by the debris from the first portion that fell. 

‘[It] wasn’t catastrophic failure. What that was [was] the debris underneath — probably a combination of half pulling it over and then piling up against the columns — and it finally failed. 

‘And then it comes down,’ Scott Homrich, the president of the National Demolition Association, said. 

‘The reason for that is that part on the right side — its columns were still okay. The structure of that building was still good. It’s still holding it up. 

‘But because it’s dragging, being dragged down by the rest of the building to the left of it, it starts leaning to the left, which also causes extra stresses on it because it’s not designed to be leaning to the left. 

Search and rescue crews work atop the rubble at the Champlain Towers South condo building, where scores of people remain missing after it partially collapsed the week before, Wednesday, June 30, 2021

‘But then also it’s just being pulled down,’ Albert Bleakley, a professor of mechanical and civil  engineering at the Florida Institute of Technology,’ said. 

On Tuesday, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said she would ask a grand jury to investigate the collapse. 

‘My office has a long tradition of presenting more than just criminal cases to the Grand Jury. I plan to request that our Grand Jury look at what steps we can take to safeguard our residents without jeopardizing any scientific, public safety, or potential criminal investigations,’ she added. 

Three residents have filed lawsuits against the seven-person condo board, blaming them for not acting sooner to repair the building after a 2018 report by an engineer found major errors and concrete spalling. 

The board said it told residents about the damage and was in the process of fixing it. 

In April, the board sent a letter to residents asking them to pay for the $15.5million of repairs that were needed. They were given the option of paying in installments over time or up front, with total payments ranging from $80,000 for one-bedroom owners to $336,000 for four-bedroom penthouse owners. 

In the letter, the board president said the damage was ‘accelerating’ and had become ‘significantly worse’ since the engineer first identified it in 2018. 

It was due to begin later this year but they hadn’t yet hired a crew to do the concrete work. 


54-year-old Stacie Fang


Stacie Dawn Fang, 54, was with her son Jonah Handler, a teenager, when the building collapsed. They lived on the tenth floor. The boy’s small hand waved through the wreckage as a man out walking his dog hurried to the site, climbed through a pile of glass and rebar and promised to get help right away.

Rescuers helped the boy out from under a pile of cement and carried him away on a stretcher to a hospital.

‘There are no words to describe the tragic loss of our beloved Stacie,’ members of her family said in a statement. ‘Many heartfelt words of encouragement and love have served as a much needed source of strength during this devastating time.’

Asked about the boy’s condition, a family friend, Lisa Mozloom told the AP ‘He will be fine. He’s a miracle.’


Manuel LaFont, 54

Manuel LaFont, 54, was a proud father, a baseball fan and a business consultant who lived on the building’s eighth floor. 

He had a 10-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter with his ex-wife Adriana LaFont, the Miami Herald reported.

Adriana asked her friends on Facebook to pray the rosary for Manny before his body was found. ‘So many memories inside the walls that are no more today, forever engraved experiences in the heart,’ she wrote.

LaFont, a Houston native, coached his son’s baseball team, the Astros, at North Shore Park, just a mile away from the Champlain. He was a parishioner at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Miami Beach. The parish’s school parents gathered Saturday afternoon to pray for LaFont and his neighbors who were still missing.

An alumnus of Sharpstown High School in Houston, LaFont had worked across Latin America and the Caribbean for a manufacturing firm, leading a division focusing on roadway safety that built crash cushions and moveable barriers, the Herald reported.

‘I got into this industry specifically because I don’t want to sell widgets. I want to help people. I want to do something good in this world,’ he said at an industry conference in 2016. ‘When I die, I want to say that my life meant something.’


Antonio and Gladys Lozano

Antonio and Gladys Lozano lived on the ninth floor. The two had known each other over 60 years and would have celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary on July 21.

Their sons told WPLG-TV that the couple had joked neither wanted to die before the other, because neither wanted to live without the other. Their one solace, the brothers said, was that they were together when they died.

Authorities confirmed on Saturday that Antonio, 83, and Gladys, 79, were among the dead.

Sergio Lozano said he had dinner with his parents hours before the collapse. He lived in one of the towers of the complex and could see his parents’ apartment across the way from his. That night, he said the heard a loud noise they thought could be a storm.

‘The building is not there,’ he said he told his wife. ‘My parents’ apartment is not there. It’s gone.’


Ana Ortiz, left, and her son Luis Bermudez and Leon Oliwkowicz and his wife Christina (right) 

Luis Bermudez, of San Juan, Puerto Rico, had battled with muscular dystrophy for years and used a wheelchair. The 26-year-old man lived with his mother Ana Ortiz on the seventh floor of the Champlain Towers South.  

His father, also named Luis Bermudez, texted the AP saying ‘my son is a hero.’ He also wrote on Facebook that he could not believe he’s gone.

‘Now rest in peace and without any obstacles in heaven,’ he wrote. ‘I will see you soon my Luiyo.’

Ortiz, 46, had just gotten married with Frankie Kleiman. Alex Garcia, the couple’s close friend, told The Miami Herald he had set them up on a blind date. Kleiman lived with his wife and stepson on the same floor as his brother Jay Kleiman, who was in town for a funeral, and their mother Nancy Kress Levin. The Kleimans and their mother are still missing.

50-year-old Frank Kleiman, left, was found on Monday. He was Ana’s husband

Ortiz was described as a woman who was committed to giving her son the best possible life.

‘She´s a rock star. And gorgeous,” Garcia told the Herald. “And on top of that a super mom.


Kleiman, 50, was the husband of Ana Ortiz, whose body was found alongside that of her disabled son, Luiz, over the weekend. 


Leon Oliwkowicz and his wife Christina were also identified as victims of the tower collapse on Sunday evening 

The couple lived on the 8th floor of the condo tower for several years, according to Venezuelan journalist Shirley Varnagy, a close friend of their family.

They were among six Venezuelan natives caught in the building’s collapse. Still missing Monday were Moisés Rodán, 28; Andrés Levine, 27; Luis Sadovnik, 28, and his wife, Nicole Langesfeld, Varnagy said.

Varnagy said the Oliwkowicz’s daughter had been outside the building waiting for some information about their fate. Her husband answered their phone and asked to be left alone.

The couple’s daughter, Mrs. Leah Fouhal, works as a secretary at a Jewish school in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago, where the couple donated a Torah in 2019 in a procession that included a vintage fire truck, music and a giant velvet and gold crown, according to, an Orthodox Jewish news outlet that covers Chabad-Lubavitch communities around the world.

Meanwhile, the parents of Rodán, Levine and Sadovnik live in Venezuela and traveled to the U.S. Friday. ‘Some did not have a visa, others had an expired passport, but with diplomatic collaboration they were able to arrive,’ Varnagy said.  


The body of 52-year-old Marcus Joseph Guara was recovered on Saturday

Hilda Noriega  

Hilda Noriega (pictured) was named by her family Wednesday as the 12th confirmed victim of the tragedy 

Hilda Noriega, who lived in Apt. 602 in the 12-story tower, was the mother of North Bay Village Police Chief Carlos Noriega. 

She had only recently celebrated her 92nd birthday. 

Her body was discovered among the remains of the condo tower Tuesday.

Her family paid tribute to the ‘matriarch of the family’ in a statement Wednesday.  

Noriega’s son had traveled to the collapse site Thursday to look for his mother, who had only recently celebrated her 92nd birthday.

Among the rubble, the police chief found a birthday card a relative had given to Noriega at a brunch, reported Local10.    

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