Woman's Decision to Watch Soccer at Home Kept Her from Staying at Florida Condo That Collapsed

While the residents of the Surfside area of Florida are left aggrieved following the fatal collapse of a building, one woman has cause to be thankful.

At least one person is dead following the partial collapse of a 12-story beachfront condo in Surfside, Florida, while about ninety-nine others remain unaccounted for.

The collapse happened on Thursday morning, just hours after a woman, Patricia Avilez, decided against spending the night at her brother’s apartment in the building.

A picture of a woman in bed wearing blue pajamas and a white sweat shirt. | Photo: Pixabay

A picture of a woman in bed wearing blue pajamas and a white sweat shirt. | Photo: Pixabay

Avilez, who remains overwhelmed by the incident, recounted how she made plans on Wednesday to pay her routine visit to the apartment, pick up the mails, and tidy up the condo.

However, moments before setting out, a soccer game commenced, and she decided to put off her visit until the next morning. The last-minute decision may have saved the woman’s life. She recalled:

"Last night, I was thinking, 'Let me go over there to sleep overnight’ I was looking at the soccer game, and I changed my mind and stayed home."

Avilez got out of bed by 5:30 on Thursday and made her way to the apartment for her routine check. While on the way, she heard the news of the collapsed building on the radio.

Filled with disbelief, the woman made it all the way to the condo and found it in shambles, with 55 of its units destroyed. The entire scene was a disaster, she confirmed.

[H]e noted that those signs could not be the sole cause of the collapse.

While there is no assurance on what may have happened to Avillez had she slept over at the apartment, some residents of the 136 units building were not so lucky. As of Thursday evening, rescue teams had succeeded in extricating 35 victims from the ruins.

Most of the victims were hospitalized with moderate to major injuries. Several others remain trapped in the wreckage as rescue operatives vow not to give up on the search. 

Family and friends of the missing victims remain hopeful that their loved ones would emerge from the disaster unscathed. Sadly, they only have the authorities’ promises to bank on.

Since the collapse, several outlets have dug out documents that prove the disaster has been a long way coming. According to a 2020 study published in the journal Ocean and Coastal Management, the land around the complex showed signs of sinking since the 90s.

Professor Shimon Wdowinski of Florida International University, who conducted the study, identified signs of land subsidence in the building. However, he noted that those signs could not be the sole cause of the collapse.

The future recurrence of such incidents could be prevented if the necessary bodies look into potentially fatal discoveries timeously and take the necessary actions.

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