Miami-Dade County

In Sunny Isles Beach condo blast, cleanup continues

Damage shown when a 34th-floor boiler room blew up Friday atop the Château Beach Residences, a new waterfront Sunny Isles Beach condominium, injuring six people, including at least one worker in or near the boilers at the time of the explosion.
Damage shown when a 34th-floor boiler room blew up Friday atop the Château Beach Residences, a new waterfront Sunny Isles Beach condominium, injuring six people, including at least one worker in or near the boilers at the time of the explosion. City of Sunny Isles Beach

Traffic is back to normal, all of the injured have been released from the hospital and the cleanup is underway.

That was the update from Sunny Isles Beach Mayor George “Bud” Scholl on Saturday — a day after a boiler-room explosion blew out big chunks of the 34th floor at Château Beach Residences, a just-completed waterfront luxury condo tower.

“The two burn victims were released this morning,” Scholl said. “They had second-degree burns. It wasn’t as bad as we originally thought it was.”

Miami-Dade Fire-Rescue has said a total of six people were injured in the blast, which is believed to have been caused by a gas explosion. They included construction workers, two county firefighters and, according to the mayor, a guest who was on the pool deck at the next-door Monaco Resort hotel.

Aldo Mottolese, who lives next door to the Chateau Beach Residences in Sunny Isles Beach, describes the explosion. Video by Walter Michot

“The debris fell on the Monaco … he got hit by debris,” Scholl said. After being treated for minor injuries at the hospital, the man was released, city officials said.

Still unclear: when the still-dangling slab of concrete hanging off of the Château tower will be removed. The slab has now been tied down with cables that are welded to the building, but it remains enough of a concern that the Monaco hotel remains evacuated for the foreseeable future. Initially, city officials and the construction firm, Coastal Construction, were discussing bringing in a temporary crane to removed the hanging slab, but that plan ran into a hiccup Saturday afternoon.

As Scholl was speaking with the Miami Herald, City Manager Christopher Russo walked over to inform him that engineers at Coastal’s office are now saying a 500-ton crane won’t be big enough.

“They’re proposing an 800-ton crane,” Russo said. That would require bringing in the crane from out of state, and assembling it next to the condo tower, at a city park.

“We’re talking for, like, three weeks, or more,” Russo said.

Russo and the mayor were lukewarm to that idea. The solution to removing the hanging concrete, the city manager said, is “to be determined.”

Michelle Fayed, Miami-Dade Fire-Rescue Public Information Officer, speaks at the scene of the Chateau Beach Residences explosion. More than 100 firefighters responded. Video by Walt Michot

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