A well-known structural engineer is in Miami this week working to figure out what caused a devastating condo building collapse last month.
Authorities have now identified 97 victims after the Champlain Towers South condo building partially collapsed on June 24 in Miami.
Structural engineer Allyn Kilsheimer was called on by the town of Surfside to determine what caused the collapse and why.
Before Kilsheimer arrived to Miami, he has investigated numerous catastrophic building failures such as the September 11 terrorist attacks. It has also been nearly three decades since he first stepped foot outside the Murrah Federal Building in 1995 to begin an investigation.
In Miami, Kilsheimer said he is now being forced to have to work backwards.
“Usually, I try to interview whoever was around at the time because what they heard and what they saw is sometimes very helpful,” Kilsheimer said. “The longer you wait to talk to them, the more they forget and the more the lawyers get to them to tell them to forget.”
Beginning those interviews has not been possible, Kilsheimer said.
Access to the collapse site and everything associated has been denied as rescue efforts continue and police designate the area a crime scene.
“We don’t have access to the off-site storage facilities where they have been taking pieces and rubble,” Kilsheimer said. “We are trying to work that out, the site is essentially currently under the control of the Miami Police Department.”
To make time away from the office in Washington D.C. useful, Kilsheimer said he and a team are inspecting numerous records along with 15 buildings nearby for clues.
“In order to plug certain information into all our models and our thoughts on the south building, we need to have the access to the debris pile and the crushed debris,” Kilsheimer said. “The first more important thing in my mind is the site so we can check the below ground conditions.”
Until full access is granted, Kilsheimer said getting to work on what happened is stalled. It is all answers family of victims and engineers nationwide anxiously await.
“I’ve got about 30 different things that I think could of caused something like this,” Kilsheimer said. “I probably have eliminated or at least moved to the bottom of the list one, two, or three things but I have also added one, two or three more.”
Kilsheimer said if he doesn’t have full access soon, he’s heading back to D.C. but can return at a moment’s notice.