Surfside residents watching the Atlantic Ocean from their third-floor beach-view condo got word Monday night that the building’s owner was planning to blow off the remaining buildings’ roof and a few other connecting balconies with explosives.
Soon after, some residents watched as a bright, white plume of smoke rose into the sky. Then, the boom that was supposed to create the blast came and went. “Is that a bomb, or a demolition?” one resident yelled out.
Cities across Florida often practice this dramatic technique during evacuation drills because a fake building can devastate an area with even a few quick explosions. But in Surfside, residents are building and selling a new, $110 million oceanfront home without having done any kind of demolition, and the same house is scheduled to reopen to the public in September.
A few hours after the explosions, firefighters were called to help remove some roofs.
“What the hell is that?” a resident asked as the devices were demonstrated in a nearby park.
But Lisa Schleyknecht, the beachfront manager of the newly opened condo, said it was an attempt to get rid of buckling debris in an area of the building where the ocean was scheduled to turn to rain in the coming weeks.
Ms. Schleyknecht had planned to demolish the entire building before the hurricane season started, but under the city zoning code she needed more permits and the weather was not cooperating. That left her with no choice but to leave the building open, she said.
“We knew it would be in a dangerous position,” she said. “Just turn it upside down, get everything out.”
Still, she did not anticipate as many residents as showed up to witness the display.
“I thought we would have two or three,” she said. “I never expected 10.”