Conservative commentator Charlie Kirk noted on social media Friday that a number of “architects” have allegedly told him they believe the partial collapse of the apartment building in Surfside, Fla., earlier this week was the work of “domestic terrorists.”
“I have spoken to several architects who believe that the building collapse in Surfside was not an act of nature. Many are saying this was ‘domestic terrorism,'” Kirk, the founder of Turning Point USA, an organization that brings conservative principles to college campuses, wrote on Twitter.
Kirk was responding to the partial collapse of a residential building in the city, which is located in Miami-Dade County, that has so far reportedly killed at least four people, though nearly 160 remain unaccounted for thus far.
Some social media users mocked his theory.
I have spoken to several architects who believe that the building collapse in Surfside was not an act of nature. Many are saying this was “domestic terrorism”
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) June 25, 2021
“No, architects and engineers for years had warned about the building’s year-by-year sinking and potential collapse, but hey, if you want to run the ‘domestic terrorism’ angle before all the evidence is in, you be you,” one person wrote.
“I have spoken with several conspiracy theory experts and they believe that this tweet is how one starts,” quipped another.
“Totally irresponsible tweet,” another user admonished.
Authorities have not yet determined what brought the building down. However, county Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, a Democrat, has claimed that it’s a “structural engineering question.”
The New York Times reported Thursday that the 40-year-old building was set to “undergo extensive repairs for rusted steel and damaged concrete,” citing Kenneth S. Direktor, a lawyer involved with the project.
“The repairs had been scheduled as part of a review and recertification process for” four-decade-old buildings, the paper added.
But others are not convinced that structural problems were responsible for the collapse, including Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett.
“There’s no reason for this building to go down like that unless someone literally pulls out the supports from underneath, or they get washed out, or there’s a sinkhole or something like that because it just went down,” he told NBC News. He added that he frequently jogged by the building and noticed recently some minor repair work was taking place at the building involving a crane.
“I mean it looks like a bomb went off, but we’re pretty sure a bomb didn’t go off,” he added.
In an interview with Fox News’s Tucker Carlson hours after the building collapse, Burkett noted, “Buildings like this do not fall in America. This is a third-world phenomenon and it’s shocking.”
He added that the collapse “was not unlike what happened at the Trade Center in 2001 and it’s really disturbing.”
“I’ve been here since 1993, and I’ve never seen something like this happen,” Peter Zalewski, a principal at Condo Vultures, a real estate market analysis firm in South Florida, told the outlet.
“You would think any problems that large would have been detectable. If a recertification was being done, expect reports that say what problems currently exist in the building,” he added.
“I have a feeling that something else is going to be discovered that happened that we can’t assume right off the bat,” said Zalewski. “Forty-year-old buildings don’t just collapse, and there’s a whole series of them lining up and down the coast.”
NBC News went on to cite “climate scientists and geologists” who said that buildings should never have been erected on a barrier island as they were because those islands are inherently unstable.
“These are very dynamic features. We didn’t understand that these islands actually migrate until the 1970s,” Prof. Emeritus Orrin Pilkey, who teaches geology at Duke University, told the network. “As sea level rises, they move back.”
For his part, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis cautioned against jumping to conclusions.
“We don’t want to get [it] wrong, obviously, but at the same time I do think it’s important that it’s timely because you have a lot of families here, you have families that lost loved ones in this going collapse,” he told reporters on Friday. “You have other folks who were able to get out safely, but then lost their homes.”
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