Residents Evacuated From Broward Condo Due to Dangerous Electrical Problems

Engineering report says fire hazard and risk of electrocution forced evacuation

NBC Universal, Inc.

No one is living in the Crane Crest beachfront condo building in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea.

Last Friday, dozens of residents were evacuated from the nine-story condo due to a fire hazard with the electrical system.

Greg Wells, who has lived in the building for two years, said he got a surprise knock at the door at 8:30 p.m.

“They said, you got to get out right away, it’s critical you leave, possibility of electrocution. Everybody was scrambling trying to find a place, we found a place to go,” said Wells.

Engineering reports provided to NBC 6 by Lauderdale-by-the-Sea officials show Crane Crest has problems with its electrical, structural, sanitary, A/C and natural gas systems. When the A/C stopped working last month, a more serious issue came to light.

“Our contractors came in and tunneled underneath and found what they found, which was disintegrating electrical conduit under the system with water getting into it,” said Jim Hook, Vice President of the Crane Crest Condo Board.

The engineering company, Hillman Engineering, says the electrical problems pose a fire hazard and risk of electrocution.

“This should’ve been replaced 40 years ago at least. It’s a lack of maintenance,” said Wells.

But Hook said there was no way of knowing the extent of the damage until they drilled under the building. He said it was impossible to make repairs while people lived in the building.

Hook added he feels for the residents because he had to evacuate quickly too.

“I have two pairs of underwear, two pairs of socks, and I’m staying with someone a quarter of a mile away,” said Hook, who lives on the 8th floor.

Some residents say they’re fed up and considering moving out for good.

“I’m at a loss with this whole thing, we’re just trying to get by day by day and hoping we can get back in the bldg soon.”

Hook says he hopes people can move back in the week of October 25. By then, a temporary fix on the electrical issues should be complete. Residents can live in the building while permanent repairs are made.

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