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Surfside building collapse Workers cut a large slab of concrete at the Champlain Towers South condo, Monday, June 28, 2021, in Surfside, Fla. Many people were still unaccounted for after Thursday’s fatal collapse. Photo: Marta Lavandier/AP

I grew up in Miami, and I know there are thousands of buildings just like the Champlain complex in Surfside erected over the past 40 years. Pretty much everything in South Florida is made of concrete; block structures held together with fortress-like strength by mortar, poured concrete lintels, pillars and fasteners of every type. They’ve withstood every hurricane-force passing their way.

When I saw the first images of this building collapse, my first thought was, “this was a bomb.”  The photos showed a building sheared as if by a giant knife. They reminded me of the Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City. Had I not seen the security video footage showing the actual pancake collapse (from standstill to pancake effect; not initiated by any explosive), I could not have been persuaded. This is to be expected of buildings in the third world, where inspections are backlogged or non-existent and bribery abounds — not in Miami, Florida.

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