Health and Surfside Condo Collapse: Siloam Scenarios

Sunday’s rain dampened Sauk Centre’s streets, but delivered under four tenths of an inch.

Ash Street South, Sauk Centre, Minnesota. (June 14, 2021)That’s been good for our weeds, and for grass next to sidewalks. But it’s nowhere near the two or three inches we need to get back to adequate soil moisture in these parts.

Medical issues have been distracting me.

I took one of the kids to an unscheduled clinic checkup with follow-up lab work.

Then another enjoyed, if that’s the word, a day or so in the hospital. Not Sauk Centre’s hospital. One up in North Dakota, near where she lives.

On the ‘up’ side, I’ve been okay this week, which left me free for chauffeur duty.

I’m hoping the next week here will be less eventful.

But, quoting an old Minnesota saying, it could be worse.

I woke up Thursday morning.

A Hallway, a Neighbor and a Balcony

Champlain Towers South condos, old marketing photo.
(From Miami Condo Investments, used w/o permission.)

At least four folks sleeping in a nice Miami/Surfside beachfront condominium didn’t.

Or, maybe, they woke up while being crushed in a collapsing tower.

(From FOX 13 Tampa Bay, via YouTube, used w/o permission.)

Granted, I don’t know that the four known fatalities and maybe 99 missing bodies were asleep when half of Champlain Towers South fell. But since the incident happened at half past one in the morning, give or take, I’d say it’s a reasonable assumption.

Those numbers may have changed by the time you read this.

The last I heard, rescuers have extracted at least 35 survivors from what’s left of Champlain Towers South.

Maybe 11 were injured. All, I’d imagine, were flustered by the incident.

One chap said that he and his wife noticed the commotion, grabbed a few things and scooted out their front door.

Just one problem.

Most of the hallway on their level wasn’t there.

On the other hand, some of it was.

So they looked around, noted an absence of conventional exits, and joined a neighbor on his balcony. Where emergency responders with a crane rescued them.

Distress and DNA

Champlain Towers South condos, website landing page.
(From Champlain Towers South condos, used w/o permission.)

When I saw ‘Miami residence collapse’ headlines in my news feed, my first guess was that the owner of a low-rent building had decided that maintenance and repairs didn’t matter.

Although witless management philosophy may have been a factor, maybe it wasn’t.

All I’m certain of right now is that a few people are definitely dead, and very likely upwards of a hundred and fifty stopped living in the wee hours of Thursday morning.

On the other hand, searchers have heard noises inside the rubble that survivors might be making. Maybe some of the missing folks are alive.

Authorities are getting DNA from relatives of folks who may have been inside. That’ll help sort out who’s who while sifting through rubble and remains.

Names and Loss

Champlain Towers South condos before and after aerial photo.
(From BBC News, used w/o permission.)

I figure it’s bad news when anyone’s squashed in their sleep. Or while awake, for that matter. But I also figure it’s natural that a victim’s status matters. At least to folks connected with the stricken bigwigs.

Paraguayans, for example, have probably lost their First Lady’s sister and her family.

Folks with name recognition in Chile are missing, too.

Champlain Towers South was also home to folks from Argentina, Venezuela, Colombia and Uruguay.

Maybe that’s why Miami search and rescue folks have been getting help. Or maybe city, state and national decision-makers see the incident as a situation where folks need help. I strongly suspect the latter’s closer to the mark.

It’s early days, but I’ve been glad to see no wild accusations or crackpot assertions. Not that I’ve looked for such.

I figure it’s just a matter of time before someone gets attention by blaming the current or former American president. Or by claiming that an Agarthan-Masonic-Colombian cabal collapsed the condos.

Meanwhile, we’ve learned a few names.

Jonah Handler, 15, and his mother lived in Champlain Towers South. He’s alive. His mother is missing.

Stacie Fang, 54, endured blunt-force injuries but died at Aventura Hospital.

Barry Cohen, his wife and a neighbor waited on a balcony until rescuers arrived with a crane.

Some folks lost their homes Thursday morning. Some lost their lives. Others lost friends and family. No pressure, but prayer for all of the above couldn’t hurt.


Surfside Condominium: a human and canine search and rescue team.
(From Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department, via Wikipedia, used w/o permission.)
(Search and rescue in the Champlain Towers South ruins. (June 24, 2021))

There’s more to say about the Champlain Towers South collapse.

Some of it’s being said in the news, although the George Floyd trial’s taken over top billing in my news feed. Possibly because I live in Minnesota.

I expect we’ll see the usual progression: names and mini-biographies of the dead, pronouncements by politicos, speculation by experts; and eventually analysis and discussion of why a high-end residential tower built in 1981 pancaked in 2021.

Memento Mori, Carpe Diem and Me

Pieter Claesz's 'Vanitas Still Life.' (1630)I was going to be writing about prayer this week, but between two family health-related situations and Thursday’s news haven’t got more than a few notes.

Looks like I’m more ruffled that I’d realized. Ruffled? Flustered? You get the idea.

I could try bluffing my way through what I’d planned. But that doesn’t look like a good idea. So instead I’ll repeat — paraphrase? — what I’ve said before.

Life happens.

Death happens.

Breaks in routine are, by definition, unexpected.

Assuming that God smites sinners, and that therefore folks experiencing breaks in routine are naughty, is all too common.

Jesus talked about that.

“Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem?
“By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!'”
(Luke 13:45)

The old cliche — ‘[verb] in haste, repent at leisure’ — notwithstanding, I can’t be sure how much leisure I’ll have.

I’ve got free will, so I’ve got options. Lots of options.

I could take a page from my culture’s spiritual tradition, writhing in anguish and making life miserable for myself and anyone in earshot.

Or I could be more up-to-date, proclaim that all this religious stuff is a scam, and [verb] like there’s no tomorrow. Which, eventually, there wouldn’t be. For me.

Those options strike me as silly at best. So I’ll keep doing what I’ve been doing: trying to avoid my [verbs], and keep trying when I fail in that effort.

And praying. I’ll keep praying. Maybe I’ll get around to writing about that next week.

Then again, maybe not.

In any case, here’s the seemingly-inevitable list of links. And after that, links to resources I used while writing this.

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About Brian H. Gill

I was born in 1951. I'm a husband, father and grandfather. One of the kids graduated from college in December, 2008, and is helping her husband run businesses and raise my granddaughter; another is a cartoonist and artist; #3 daughter is a writer; my son is developing a digital game with #3 and #1 daughters. I'm also a writer and artist.
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2 Responses to Health and Surfside Condo Collapse: Siloam Scenarios

  1. Manny says:

    I had not seen the video until now. Thanks. Horrible. Reminds me of 9/11 Twin Towers collapse. My prayers to all those living and deceased. What a tragedy.

Thanks for taking time to comment!