‘Walkways are in danger of collapse’: 72 Osceola County condo units declared unsafe

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — Leaders said 72 units at an Osceola County condominium were declared unsafe and “could represent a threat to the safety of the public.”

Leaders said they were informed Wednesday by an engineering firm after an inspection at the Images Condominiums found several “walkways are in danger of collapse.”

READ: Surfside condo collapse: Crew spoke to woman but couldn’t save her

Residents were told to enter at their own risk.

Osceola County leaders said they “acted quickly in the best interest of public safety by declaring the structures unsafe on Wednesday morning, which was immediate action after it learned of the engineering report performed on behalf of the Condominium Association/management company.”

READ: ‘There’s no smoking gun’: Central Florida engineer helping solve what led to Surfside condo collapse

County staff members said they are working to help residents who need temporary housing and will have people on site Wednesday and Thursday to assist.

Linda Medina lives in one of the dozens of units that have been deemed unsafe. She said she doesn’t feel safe, especially with what happened in Surfside last month.

“It’s been such a crazy day,” Medina said. “They’re not really telling us much what’s wrong with the building.”

Residents with questions or needing assistance can call human services at 407-742-8400 or the Red Cross at 407-894-4141 or 800-733-2767.

READ: Surfside condo collapse: Death toll rises to 18; 2 children identified

Michael Allen and his realtor said they were supposed to check out a unit at the complex on Thursday. They decided to leave after hearing about the issues.

“I don’t think this will be on our list anymore,” Allen said.

The county said the inspection of the complex, which was built in 1990, was set up prior to the Surfside condo collapse.

Officials said repairing the existing structural issues is the responsibility of the condo association/management company.

Below is a timeline provided by the county outlining what happened leading to the units being deemed unsafe:

  • “The inspection had been contracted by the property management company, and the firm that completed the inspection notified property management on April 30 with concerns. The engineer that had performed the inspection indicated that the condo association did not engage his firm further nor could he determine any type of action had been taken by the condo association, so he contacted Osceola County on Tuesday, June 29.
  • Osceola County staff visited the property promptly on Wednesday morning, June 30, and decided to take appropriate action in an abundance of caution after seeing the condition of the three buildings identified by the inspection firm. Three buildings (a total of 72 units) were posted as unsafe: Residents enter at their own risk.
  • On Wednesday and Thursday, Osceola County Human Services and Emergency Management were onsite to provide assistance to residents. Residents from 54 of the 72 units connected with County staff onsite for temporary (14 days) hotel accommodations. Residents with questions or needing assistance can call Human Services at 407-742-8400.
  • The County has contacted the attorney for the Condo Association and received permission for the County to inspect the remaining eight buildings.
  • Prior to June 30, 2021, there were no code violations/infractions reported at Images for the previous 10 years.”

Katlyn Brieskorn, WFTV.com

Katlyn Brieskorn is a Digital Assignment Editor at WFTV. She joined Channel 9 in July 2019.