By Ted Scouten

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – When that building collapsed to the ground in Miami Beach, neighbors said it felt like an earthquake, as they watched large chunks of the building fly through the air.

“The debris just blew out,” recalled Eli Portnoy who lives nearby. “If it just was dropping demolition stuff, it would go here, but this blew across 100 feet of road,” he said.

While it may look like an implosion it was not. This was slated as a demolition.

“The building was not scheduled to be imploded,” said Miami Beach Building Dept. Director Ana Salgueiro.

“They had tried to ask for a permit to implode and they’d been denied. So it was standard demolition that was supposed to be taking place,” she said.

The permit calls for a “Total demo of multi-family residential structure by conventional methods. No longer using the implosion method.”

The Miami Beach building director said it obviously did not go as planned.

“It appears that something happened,” said Salgueiro. “We’ll need to investigate further to know exactly what happened, but there was no, they did not have a permit to implode.”

A man identifying himself as a crew member told us the demolition team carefully made plans to dismantle the building.

“They get in there first with crews, take out all the loadbearing walls, they’re very precise,” he said. “Demolition companies, when they get in there and do this, they just don’t show up with equipment and say let’s go.

He said a common way to bring a building down is by wrapping a thick cable around a support pylon, then pulling.

“What happened?” Asked CBS 4’s Ted Scouten. “It just, one of the columns fell a different way. It happens,” replied the worker.

Late Monday afternoon, Winmar construction released a statement regarding the demolition by subcontractor Allied Bean Demolition. It said in part, “We are working closely with City officials and industry agencies to understand what happened during Allied’s demolition of the structure.”

Miami Beach city officials checked nearby buildings for damage. They deemed all of them to be safe.

Miami-Dade County checked the air quality, it found asbestos from the building was mediated before the collapse.

Ted Scouten