A TikTok video showing what appears to be the north side of Champlain Towers South just minutes before the building collapsed has gone viral on social media.
The video, shared on Tuesday, was taken from across the street by a woman named Adriana Sarmiento, who told ABC7 she was on a vacation and swimming in their hotel's pool nearby when she heard a noise and went to investigate.
Waterproofing Flaw Caused Major Structural Damage
The post, captioned, "The basement was the first to collapse," shows the entrance to the garage, where water appears to be gushing from the ceiling and huge chunks of concrete debris can be seen on the floor.The clip was shot at 1:18 a.m. on June 24, and the building came down seven minutes later at 1:25 a.m.
The part of the parking garage visible in the video was identified in 2018 by engineer Frank Morabito as having a concrete slab above that was severely damaged due to a design flaw that caused the waterproofing on the pool deck to fail, allowing water to seep into the concrete and corrode the internal rebar.
Collapse Caused by Leaking Pool?
Allyn E. Kilsheimer, who is investigating the Champlain Towers South collapse told The Washington Poston Tuesday that the pool theory seems viable.
"There is a possibility that part of the pool [area] came down first and then dragged the middle of the building with it, and that made that collapse. And then once the middle of the building collapsed, number two, then the rest of the building didn't know how to stand up and it fell down also, number three," Kilsheimer said.
Other eyewitnesses have also described seeing the pool deck collapse into the same garage. Sara Nir, a resident of the building, has said in multiple interviews that she was inside her ground-floor apartment shortly before 1 a.m. when she heard loud "knocking" noises followed by a noise that sounded like a wall had come crashing down at around 1:14 a.m.
Nir told the Washington Post she ran to the lobby to alert a security guard, then heard a very loud boom and saw that part of the surface-level parking area and part of the pool deck had collapsed into the underground parking garage. She said she ran back to her apartment to get her two children and the three of them ran from the building before it collapsed minutes later.
Cassondra Billedeau-Stratton was also in the building when it started shaking at around 1.30am on Thursday. She called her husband Mike and told him she was watching from her window and saw what looked like a sink hole form around the pool. Seconds later, the line went dead. Billedeau-Stratton is among the 145 victims who are still accounted for while the death toll of the tragedy stands at 18.