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Did Navy blast cause Surfside condo collapse?

Experts say they don't believe that the quake would have caused a building in South Florida to come crashing down.
Experts say they don't believe that the quake would have caused a building in South Florida to come crashing down.

The blast happened 100 miles off the coast of Fort Pierce, and now experts are weighing in whether it could have had anything to do with the tragic condo collapse in Surfside.

A huge “experimental explosion” set by the U.S. Navy 100 miles off Florida’s east coast June 18 became the blast that was seen around the world — thanks to social media.

The Navy was testing its new aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. Gerald R. Ford, in a “shock trial,” about 100 miles from Ponce Inlet. The explosion, which registered a 3.9 magnitude earthquake, helps to test a ship’s ability to withstand nearby explosions.

The explosion has set off numerous theories, such as whether it caused fish kills or Thursday morning’s sudden collapse of the Champlain Towers South.

Building engineer Frederick Shaffer in Stuart says the blast and faraway shockwaves likely had no impact in Surfside, as buildings built to withstand hurricanes can also withstand earthquakes.

“On that basis, a building designed to South Florida standards should survive your average earthquake in California,” he said.

Local 10 News has received numerous messages wondering if the blast could have caused the condo collapse.

The weekend fish kill in Juno Beach has also been attributed to water temperature change. But environmental groups point out the damage to sea life from the blast may be far out in the ocean.

This blast was not the last. The Navy says more tests are planned this summer off Florida’s coast.

Military officials said all tests comply with environmental requirements.

Friday’s blast was the first time the Navy has conducted shock trials since 1987.


About the Author:

Nicole Perez is the the primary co-anchor of Local 10 News at 4 p.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. She first joined Local 10 in July 2016 as the morning traffic reporter.