Judith Mitrani-Reiser, an associate chief in the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s materials and structural systems division, has more than a professional, passing interest in determining the cause or causes of the Champlain Towers South collapse.
"I grew up in Miami and the Champlain Towers South collapse site is a short walk from my late grandmother’s apartment in Biscayne Point," she said in a news conference Wednesday. "This is my hometown. Please know I am deeply committed to finding out why this building collapsed."
But, if history is a guide, it may take NIST years to release its findings.
"Our shortest investigation ever was two and a half years and our longest was six years," Mitrani-Reiser said.
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But she did offer some good news for now for people who fear the collapse of the 40-year-old condo hinted at problems with other condos of similar age and design.
She said the agency would sound the engineering alarm if it found deficiencies that could suggest another collapse could soon happen elsewhere, especially at Champlain Towers North, which was built around the same time by the same companies as its doomed larger sister to the south.
"We do have a professional and ethical responsibility to inform the public if we find any safety concerns that may affect the Champlain Towers North and any other buildings," asked.
When asked if the absence of such warning so far means all is good for the tower to the north, she replied, "You can infer that we have collected lots of evidence from the site and that we have not yet identified a reason, a safety concern, to alert the public at this moment. However, if we do find that, we do absolutely have a professional, ethical obligation to inform the public."