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Sarasota Wednesday, Jun. 30, 2010 7 years ago

Condo unsafe, evacuated urgently

by: Robin Roy City Editor

Condo owners in Dolphin Tower are busy packing their belongings.

Last night, during a homeowners meeting, they were told their building is unsafe, and they had 24 hours to evacuate.

“We are shocked,” said resident Sarita Roche. “I thought this was a safe building.”

The buildings managers called the city to report a large crack in a slab in their fourth-floor residence, and the floor had shifted about a one-quarter inch. It was described as looking like earthquake damage.

City building inspectors examined it and discovered evidence that the building was shifting. They felt it was wise to play it safe and evacuate all 117 condo units, until the 38-year-old building, at 101 S. Gulf Stream Ave., can be reinforced.

The building department officials said a collapse is unlikely but cannot be ruled out.

Residents were told to be out by 11 a.m., Thursday.

On Wednesday, they were gathering their belongings.

Roche is a widow, who lives alone. She said she wasn’t sure where she was going to stay.

“I haven’t a clue,” she said. “I don’t want to impose on friends.”

Roche and another resident, Irene Silver, said they were taking just the necessities to live for several days.

“I have no idea how long I’m going to be out of my home,” Silver said.

The city told Dolphin Tower management that the evacuation could last as little as three days or as long as six months, but the managers hope it will take less than two weeks for the shifting to stop and the building can be secured.

Officials have not yet determined what caused the damage.

Contact Robin Roy at [email protected].

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