Ms. Gandelman said she knows three of the people missing in the South towers. She said her friends from that condo would come visit and note that the North complex was in better shape.
“They used to come to this building and they used to say, ‘Oh my goodness, this building is so well-kept,’” she said. “‘In our building they have to ask for so many special assessments,’” her neighbors told her, she said.
John Pistorino, a Miami structural engineer, said that the collapse of the South towers did not necessarily mean that the North towers — or any other buildings in the area — were at particular risk of collapse.
“This collapse is so unusual, I don’t think this is indicative of all the buildings we have up and down the coast,” he said. But he added that the collapse was “certainly a warning to do due diligence on all the buildings, including that particular one,” to make sure that the buildings have been well maintained.
It was difficult not to worry about a 39-year-old building so similar to a 40-year-old building that fell in such stunning fashion. Mr. Burkett, the Surfside mayor, said beachfront residents from across his small town have called him, nervous.
“Are the buildings on the ocean safe?” they asked him.
What to do took over part of a special meeting of the Town Council on Friday. After consulting with other officials, including Ms. Levine Cava, Mr. Burkett said on Saturday that a voluntary evacuation might be a good idea. He planned to approach the condo board, which has scheduled a meeting for Sunday morning.
“We would rather not make it mandatory,” he said. “If there are people in that building who are comfortable staying here, it seems to me the chances are low that we’d have the same exact problem with that building. But personally I would not want to take that chance.”
Sophie Kasakove contributed reporting and Susan C. Beachy contributed research.