The New York Times reported early Saturday that a three-year-old engineer’s report on the 13-story condominium building in the southern U.S. state of Florida that partially collapsed Thursday said the building had “major structural damage” on the concrete slab below the pool deck.
In addition, the engineer observed “abundant” cracking and crumbling in the walls, beams and columns of the parking garage located under the building, according to the newspaper.
The report, The Times said, was the basis for “a multimillion-dollar repair project that was set to get underway soon.”
The newspaper said municipal officials released the engineer’s report late Friday.
The 2018 report did not give any evidence that the building was about to collapse but it did say “most of the concrete deterioration needs to be repaired in a timely fashion.”
The Washington Post, citing a study conducted last year, reported the building was constructed on reclaimed wetlands on the barrier island that makes up the Miami Beach area and has been gradually sinking since the 1990s.
It is unclear if those factors contributed to the incident.
Rescue workers used heavy equipment Friday to search for survivors in the rubble of the collapsed building after officials said four people were confirmed dead and 159 people remain missing.
The rescuers in the Miami suburb of the Town of Surfside used cranes as well as their own hands to dig through debris.
Officials from the city of Miami and surrounding Dade County held a news briefing earlier Friday at the scene, just north of Miami. The collapse happened about 1:30 a.m. local time Thursday.
Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava told reporters rescue officials were still searching for survivors, along with additional victims in the collapsed portion of the building. She said 129 people have been confirmed safe, adding that the numbers are very fluid.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Raide Jadallah said the entire building has been cleared and checked so rescue operations can focus on the rubble. He said 130 firefighters are working at the site.
Miami-Dade Police Director Freddy Ramirez said his office is working with the local medical examiner’s office to identify victims.
U.S. President Joe Biden has approved an emergency declaration for the site, which will allow the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate relief efforts and supply additional funds.
The president spoke with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Friday and said the federal government stands ready to provide additional resources if needed.
Information from The Associated Press and the Reuters news service contributed to this report.