A button may have saved more lives during the collapse of Champlain Towers in Surfside, Florida

Champlain Towers South condominium collapse in Surfside, June 24, 2021.

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A year after the Champlain Towers disaster, with the cause of the collapse still under federal investigation, new documents and interviews shed new light on a critical seven-minute period between the initial thunderous failure of a swimming pool cover and the eventual cascading collapse of a portion of the buildingleaving 98 dead in one of the deadliest structural failures in US history.

The security guard in the lobby of Champlain Towers rushed to call 911 to report the initial failure. An alarm may have sounded at that point in a limited part of the building.although it was clearly inaudible to many of those still asleep.

The building also featured a sophisticated audio warning system designed to broadcast an alert to the bedrooms in each unit. but never activatedaccording to newly available testimonials and interviews, because the security guard had never been trained on the system and the only button needed to activate it.

“If I had known, I would have put pressure on him,” security guard Shamoka Furman told The New York Times in an interview.

The performance of the building’s automatic fire alarm system remains one of many frustrating questions that remain unanswered 12 months after the collapse.

With seven minutes elapsing between the time of the pool deck failure and the catastrophic fall, perhaps some residents may have been able to reach safety.

In the part of the building that finally collapsed, almost everyone died.

This Thursday, Miami-Dade County Circuit Court Judge Michael A. Hanzman approved from the court a settlement of more than one billion dollars involving insurance companies, developers and other parties linked to Champlain Towers.

Securitas, a company with a global presence that was contracted to help ensure the security of the building, paid the bulk of the settlement: more than $500 million.

Also read:
Victims of the collapse of Champlain Towers in Miami are compensated with $1,000 million
· “We do not build on the bodies of the dead”: relatives oppose new construction in Champlain Towers
· VIDEO: Subject was accused of stealing identities of victims of the collapse of Surfside to run scams