Tzemach Yehudah Richter
Tzemach Yehudah Richter

The Surfside Miami “Earthquake” & A July 4th “Miracle”


Did An Earthquake Cause The Champlain Towers To Partially Fall On June 24?

It was early morning on that fateful day of June 24. The Miami Surfside community would experience what is turning out to be the start of a disaster hinting to all Jews, the three- week mourning period we observe to commemorate the destruction of the two Holy Temples in Jerusalem on the same day of the 9th Of Av known as Tisha B’ Av.

I have always been sensitive to any possible stories that involve earthquakes due to the widely used Richter Scale carrying our family name. In German, Richter means “Judge” and that makes me feel very strongly that what we are witnessing today at Surfside is similar to the ten- day period between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur where G-d makes judgement upon all of us for the coming year.

There are many earthquakes taking place throughout the world that never are reported. And the fact that Surfside is located in an area that gets strong winds during hurricane season makes it all the more mysterious that the building would suddenly collapse in the middle of the night when the weather seemed to be a non-factor.

Therefore, since an earthquake has not been mentioned as a possible cause, I am looking at the possibility the ground shook beneath the building that collapsed. As out of the ordinary this may seem, eyewitness accounts make this a possibility.

There are many stories that include interviews with survivors of this tragedy who lived or worked in the collapsed building complex and were able to escape. One of the common themes is the possibility of the ground shaking similar to a small earthquake before the collapse.

Here is one example among many to substantiate this point-

Santo Mejil, 50, was roused out of bed by a call from his wife. She had been working as an overnight caretaker in one of the three buildings that make up the tower complex.

“She said she heard a big explosion. It felt like an earthquake,” Mr Mejil told the Miami Herald.

He quickly rushed over to the apartments from their home near Miami airport, waiting for news of her safety.

As Mr Mejil spoke to the newspaper, he got another call from his wife.

“They’re bringing you down?” he said, tears welling up in his eyes. “Thank God.”


Further evidence that the structure of the building would be vulnerable in the event of the most minor earthquake-

From an article appearing in the Anchorage Daily News site on June 26-

Please focus on the following section of this article, which also includes contributions from the Miami Herald-

Hypothesis 4: Shaking And Tremors From External Causes

South tower tenants had complained about shaking and vibration in their units last year during construction of the neighboring Eighty-Seven Park building.

In addition to the nearby construction, some in South Florida raised concerns that a Navy test explosion off the coast of Florida that caused tremors like a small earthquake in South Florida last week could have also been a potential cause of the collapse.

The Navy put out a statement saying that on June 18 it conducted the first of several planned so-called Full Ship Shock Trials (FSSTs) in the coming months off the coast. The USS Gerald R. Ford was about 100 miles from Ponce Inlet in Volusia County when a 40,000 pound explosive was set off right next to it.

Ponce Inlet is about 250 miles north of Surfside.

“[Investigators] are going to check it out,” Aghayere said, noting most buildings in Florida are not designed to withstand earthquakes.

Toward the beginning, the article noted the following-

A catastrophic structural failure can take place in a flash. Determining what went wrong and why is a slow and agonizing process.

 Six experts discussed with the Miami Herald the potential causes of Thursday morning’s calamity and which they thought most plausible based on the information available.

While none felt certain of their answers, most seemed to agree that the way the building collapsed seemed to be triggered by a failure near the base of the structure.

 Atorod Azizinamini, chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Florida International University, told the Herald that this type of collapse is usually the result of “a perfect storm of several factors coming together at the same time.”

Gene Santiago, a structural engineer and retired building inspector, said he “still can’t get over the way it fell down — like an implosion,” he said. “Like a demolition job.”

As It Turned Out, Gene Santiago Predicted What Would Take Place To The Structure Still Standing – The Demolition Job On July 4th ……….

The demolition, planned because of approaching Tropical Storm Elsa, was carried out “exactly as planned,” the mayor said, and allowed the search to more safely expand to the area next to where the structure had been.

The pile of rubble next to the building was actually what had been holding up the structure, Levine Cava said, making it unsafe for crews to search there.

“Truly, we could not continue without bringing this building down,” she said.

The demolition allowed search crews to access the area closest to the building that they had not been able to access before. “And that was where we needed to go,” she said.

…………..Which Turned Out To Be A Miracle

Judging by what Levine Cava said, it appears that the building left standing would also have collapsed if the portion that initially fell would have moved in a different direction thereby leaving nothing to support the remaining structure still standing.

If that would have been the case, many more people that initially escaped could easily have been trapped in the additional collapse. As it turned out, no one was allowed to re-enter the building to retrieve their belongings before it was demolished.

Therefore, we are still hoping and praying for more miracles that those victims still trapped under the rubble will be pulled out alive.

We must realize that a great miracle took place on July 4th, the same day of the Entebbe Miracle many years earlier.

About the Author
Born and raised in the Minneapolis suburb of St. Louis Park. Married to a South African, we lived in Johannesburg from 1979 to 1996. Made Aliyah with our seven children on Parshat Lech Lecha. BSB Accounting Degree from the University of Minnesota. Investment Portfolio Manager /Fundamental And Technical Analyst. Wrote in-depth research on companies, markets, commodities for leading financial publications. Served in the US Army Reserves Semi Retired spending quality time with my wife, children, grandchildren and attend Kollel while analyzing current events as they relate to Torah and Mitzvahs.
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