DANIA BEACH (CBSMiami) – The wall of a building in Dania Beach partially collapsed on Thursday and there was a close call for renters living in second-floor apartments and the owners of the three businesses on the first floor.
“The whole back of my jewelry store is completely gone,” said Jackie Fuentes who owns a jewelry store. “We were told we can’t go back in the building. We can’t go in the building. It is shut down. I was concerned about the construction going on next door and we have had some issues but never anything like this.”
Yvonne Reis, who works at a boxing gym in the building, told CBS4’S Peter D’Oench, “Our front side because of a dividing wall is just about demolished. It was crazy. We were panicking. I just hope nobody got hurt. I heard a gentleman was in the shower. We have had some problems with construction. The pipes were leaking but they fixed it.”
The two-story building is at 21 N Federal Highway, just north of Dania Beach Boulevard. Authorities say it was built in 1924.
Construction workers were performing an excavation on the south side of the building. They were clearing the ground in preparation for construction of a new building next door.
While trenching the southside, the building’s wall partially collapsed. The building was occupied at the time of the collapse. However, the wall fell away from the building and no one inside was injured.
“The wall gave way and collapsed,” said Broward Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Michael Kane.
A kitten was rescued from the rubble.
The Fort Lauderdale Urban search and rescue team was called in along with a specially-trained dog.
The Dania Beach City Manager told D’Oench that the building has been “red tagged,” meaning no one can enter it until a structural inspection is performed by an engineer. He said the building’s owner was putting up renters at a nearby Hotel.
Federal Highway will remain closed for many hours during the process of stabilizing the wall. It is not known when it will be reopened.