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72 units of Central Florida condo complex deemed unsafe, residents relocated

Walkways at risk of collapsing could pose a threat at the Kissimmee complex, officials warned a week after a condo building near Miami Beach partially collapsed.
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Residents at a condominium complex in Central Florida were forced to relocate Wednesday after an inspection deemed the structure unsafe because walkways were at risk of collapsing, authorities said.

Osceola County officials said 72 units in multiple buildings were deemed safety threats at Images Condominiums in Kissimmee, about 20 miles south of Orlando.

Images Condominiums in Kissimmee, Fla.
Images Condominiums in Kissimmee, Fla.Google Maps

An inspection at the complex determined that “walkways are in danger of collapse and could represent a threat to the safety of the public,” officials said.

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

NBC affiliate WESH in Orlando found a staircase at one of the buildings was supported by a frame of 2-by-4’s on the first level of a three-story building. There were also signs posted inside the complex warning that some of the buildings were unsafe and should not be entered, the news station reported.

Osceola officials said they were helping residents find temporary housing.

Kissimmee is more than 200 miles north of the Miami-area community of Surfside, where the Champlain Towers South building partially collapsed last week. As of Thursday evening, the confirmed death toll and the number of unaccounted residents was at 145.

Rescue workers on Thursday temporarily stopped their work over fears the other half of the building might topple, but resumed later in the day.

More than a dozen buildings in unincorporated Miami-Dade are up for recertification and will be closely monitored for potential safety issues, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said earlier this week. Those buildings will be a part of an audit by the county, which will also include recently recertified buildings.

The exact cause of the partial collapse in Surfside is unknown.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology, which investigated in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, announced Wednesday that "it would launch a full technical investigation" into the collapse.

A team has been at the site for days and determined that the collapse met the criteria for an in-depth federal investigation.