Art History Lab

The Tragic Collapse of Champlain Tower South: What We Know So Far

The Collapse of the Champlain Tower South: Tragedy Strikes in Surfside, Florida

The Champlain Tower South, a 12-story condominium building located in Surfside, Florida, partially collapsed in the early hours of June 24, 2021. 98 people were killed in this tragedy.

This catastrophic event has left many Americans wondering about the causes of the collapse, the rescue operations, and the aftermath. Through this article, we will learn about the Champlain Tower South collapse, the contributing factors, the rescue operations, the investigation, and the aftermath.

Details of the Collapse

The collapse of Champlain Tower South was a tragedy that hit the world hard. The condominium building partially collapsed at around 1:30 a.m., killing 98 people.

The building consisted of 136 units and stood at 165 feet tall. It was built in 1981 and located in a prime area near the beach.

According to reports, the collapse was gradual, with the floors collapsing one by one like a “pancake”.

Contributing Factors to the Collapse

When it comes to a tragedy like this, many factors can contribute. In the case of Champlain Tower South, several factors played a role in the collapse.

One factor is degraded reinforced concrete, which can occur due to exposure to salt, corrosion, and moisture. Secondly, there was insufficient reinforced steel, which provides the necessary strength and durability to a concrete structure.

The third factor was land subsidence, which is the slow sinking of the land.

Rescuing Operations

The first responders on the scene were local fire departments and police departments, who were quick to respond. FEMA, accompanied by Israeli and Mexican rescue teams, joined the search and rescue effort.

The rescue process was an arduous task for teams, who had to work tirelessly to search for survivors amidst the rubble. In the end, thanks to their efforts, they were able to save some victims, but unfortunately, many more lost their lives.

Investigation of the Cause

The investigation into the cause of the collapse is underway. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has been tasked with leading the investigation, which will be a lengthy process.

There are many potential causes that investigators will need to consider, including issues with the building’s original design, construction flaws, maintenance issues, and more.

Actions Taken After the Collapse

In light of this tragedy, officials are taking action to ensure that similar instances do not occur. The remnants of the building have been carefully dismantled so that authorities can conduct a proper investigation into the cause.

Additionally, legislations for stronger condominium inspections are being discussed, to ensure that the safety and security of residents are taken seriously.

Impact on Nearby Structures and Communities

The collapse has had a significant impact on nearby communities. While experts are investigating whether or not other buildings may be at risk of collapse, many residents are concerned.

The incident has highlighted the importance of maintenance inspections in older buildings. Residents of Champlain Tower South have started evacuating nearby buildings due to concerns about the safety of the structures.


The Champlain Tower South collapse has been an immense tragedy for our society and has raised awareness about the importance of maintenance, inspections, and proper construction practices. As investigations into the cause continue, we must learn from this event and take steps to ensure that such tragedies never happen again.

The architects, engineers, contractors, and government officials have a responsibility to learn from the mistakes that led to this tragedy and implement measures to prevent future occurrences. Let us pray for the families of those affected and work together to make our buildings safe and secure.

Ownership and Development of Champlain Towers: A Closer Look

The Champlain Tower South tragedy has raised questions about the ownership and development of the property. Reports have emerged that a Dubai-based company, DAMAC properties, owned a substantial deed at the Champlain Towers before the collapse.

Additionally, the construction practices that were implemented during the development of the building have come under scrutiny.

Ownership of the Property

According to reports, DAMAC properties, a Dubai-based real estate company, owned a substantial deed at Champlain Towers South. DAMAC paid $120 million for the deed, which was one of the largest real estate acquisitions in the area.

However, reports have not determined if any of the units in Champlain Towers South were ever owned by DAMAC. The ownership of the property is yet to be fully established.

Development of the Champlain Towers

John Moriarty & Associates (JMA) was the construction company responsible for building the Champlain Towers. JMA has been part of some of the United States’ most notable projects, including the Freedom Tower in New York City.

However, JMA initially denied that the collapse had anything to do with their work. The company has stated that they were not responsible for any structural issues, as their work on the building was purely cosmetic.

Reports have indicated that the development of Champlain Towers might not have followed proper construction practices. According to sources, Champlain Towers was built using a construction method known as “flat-plate” construction.

This construction method has not been used in high-rise structures in over four decades due to the inherent risks of structural failure. Additionally, reports suggest that the building was constructed without sufficient support in the basement levels.

Water infiltration in the basement may have also played a role in the building’s instability. Furthermore, the lack of proper maintenance may have contributed to the tragedy.

Lawyers for the Champlain Tower South condo association had previously raised concerns about the lack of maintenance in the building. Reports indicate that the condominium had not completed any major repairs since it was built in 1981, meaning that significant issues could have gone unaddressed.


The Champlain Tower South tragedy has brought attention to the ownership and development of the property. Reports that DAMAC, a Dubai-based real estate company, owned a substantial deed at Champlain Towers South have raised concerns.

Additionally, the construction practices implemented during the development of the building, including “flat-plate” construction and insufficient basement support, have come under scrutiny. The lack of proper maintenance may have also played a significant role in the tragedy.

As the investigation continues, it is imperative that all parties involved take responsibility for their actions and help ensure that tragedies like Champlain Tower South never occur again. The collapse of the Champlain Tower South in Surfside, Florida was a tragedy that claimed 98 lives and raised concerns about ownership, development, and the maintenance of older buildings.

The investigations revealed that the cause of the tragedy was likely due to degraded reinforced concrete, insufficient reinforced steel, and land subsidence. The lack of proper maintenance in older buildings is also a contributing factor.

The aftermath of this tragedy has led lawmakers to consider legislation for stronger condominium inspections, and more emphasis is being placed on proper construction practices. The Champlain Tower South collapse serves as a reminder of the importance of safety and maintenance checks in older buildings and the responsibility of all stakeholders involved in the development, construction, and ownership of such structures.

Popular Posts