Broward County

29 Broward residents won’t be going home after apartment rooftop pool floods for second time

Six weeks after an eighth-floor pool leaked thousands of gallons of water into the units below at a Dania Beach apartment complex, it has happened again.

Just after 1 p.m. on Saturday, about 200 people were evacuated from The Place at Dania Point, 180 E. Dania Beach Blvd., after water began spewing from the rooftop pool, Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue said.

Michael Kane, Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue Battalion Chief, said floors six and seven were the most affected by the flood. About 30 apartments were affected, but “in an abundance of caution everyone was evacuated because crews had to disconnect the power supply to the building.”

Kane said the pool holds about 10,000 gallons of water and that by the time they were able to stop the leak, there was only about a quarter of the water left.

“It was probably several thousand gallons that leaked into the apartments,” he said.

Fire rescue’s role was to “mitigate the emergency,” and by 5 p.m. they had completed that task, he said. Some of the residents were likely be able to go back into the apartment building by later Saturday night.

Broward Sheriff Dania Beach District Fire Chief Sergio Pellecer said it looked like something went wrong in the apartment building’s pool room. Firefighters and building officials were checking every apartment to “make sure everything is safe.”

As authorities worked on the gushing waters above, frustrated residents bided their time working through 12 Domino’s pizzas that were delivered. People from the surrounding neighborhood also brought water and deli food.

The Place at Dania Point residents waiting in the lobby. Dania Beach City Manager's Office

Lauren Giroldi, who’s been living in the building for seven months, says she is frustrated that she has to go through this ordeal for a second time.

Now using crutches, she is uncomfortable after having to wait to go home for more than eight hours. She says the last meaningful update she got was five hours ago.

“I feel like I’m not being taken care of. Nobody really cares this is happening again,” she said.

Fed up with her living conditions, she is looking to move as soon as possible. Going to sleep for her and her fiance has been a nightmare.

The thought of an alarm going off and leaving everything behind to rush to the lobby haunts them.

“We do not feel safe. It is not normal that this problem has happened twice in two months,” she said. “This has caused stress in a lot of neighbors’ lives.”

While some residents may be able to go back to their apartments, 29 people will not be getting that luxury as authorities say their homes are not habitable.

The city of Dania Beach has worked to find places for these people to go.

Vice Mayor Lauren Odman and Elaine Adler with the Aventura Marketing Council were able to find discounts for three hotel rooms in Dania Beach ready Saturday night and 30 rooms ready at the Hampton Inn in Hallandale Beach Sunday.

The Four Points by Sheraton in Dania Beach, which had a fire Saturday, is providing 10 rooms for residents Saturday night only.

Odman said most, if not all, of the displaced residents should be back home by Sunday.

Dania Beach City Manager Ana Garcia said the recurrence of the leak “was concerning.”

“Something is not right,” Garcia said, adding that the city had launched a criminal investigation.

“This is interrupting the quality of life of our residents,” she said.

The first time it happened was in late September. It was suggested then that a burst pipe in the pump room near the swimming pool caused the flooding.

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In order to open the pool again, the apartment building had to pass a city inspection, which it did, Garcia said.

“Our residents are incredibly frustrated, as are we. We thought the problems were addressed,” said Mayor Lori Lewellen.

Miami Herald Real Time Reporter Devoun Cetoute covers breaking news, Florida theme parks and general assignment. He attends the University of Florida and grew up in Miami. Theme parks are on his mind in and out of the office.