The Surfside tragedy brought devastation to hundreds of families and the community. A local station, WPLG, reported that a Miami firefighter, whose daughter was presumed trapped with her mother in the condo building, was there the moment the rescue crew located and pulled the deceased child out of the rubble.
Miami Fire Rescue Chief Joseph Zahralban said, “We can confirm that a member of our City of Miami Fire Department family has lost his 7-year-old daughter in the collapse.” WPLG identified the girl as 7-year-old Stella Cattarossi. She was living at Champlain Towers South with her mother and extended family when the building collapsed.
Capt. Ignatius Carroll reportedly said that the father “was made aware that we were close to where his loved one may have been, then he stood side-by-side with some of his other fellow firefighters.”
“We were able to bring her and then at least give him an opportunity to say his farewells,” said Capt. Carroll, before he reminded first responders to cherish their loved ones. “Tell them that you love them, that you care, because a lot of times, those precious moments can be taken away from you at a moment’s notice,” reflected Carroll.
In the report, an anonymous member of the rescue team told WPLG: “They brought her down. Dad draped his jacket over her and placed a small American flag on the gurney.”
The anonymous witness said that “Dad, his brother and the other firefighters who dug her out escorted the body through a group of police officers and firefighters.”
Scott Nacheman from FEMA about the structural safety of the rubble and the continued rescue efforts said, “The building itself has not moved. However, debris in the pile below the building as well as debris on the building, of significant size had displaced.” He said, “Right now, we feel that it is safe to continue operations and that monitoring will continue until the operations are complete.”
He said that the demolition of the building, which was done between 10 p.m. on Sunday, July 4, 2021, and 3 a.m. on Monday, July 5,” a press release from Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said. In the release, she said, “The tragic collapse of Champlain Towers South has deeply impacted Surfside and the entire Miami-Dade community. We are grateful for all your support and consideration in the aftermath of this tragedy.”
The first responders worked tirelessly since the collapse to help locate missing residents of the Condo. In a press conference, Miami-Dade County Mayor Cava spoke of the bravery of the rescue crews that began work immediately after the collapse and haven’t since stopped. She said, “They truly represent the very best in all of us, and we need to be there for them as they are here for us.”
Let me be clear: The men and women of our @MiamiDadeFire team are the best in the world. They are working around the clock and using every strategy available to find and save as many loved ones as possible.
Please keep them in your prayers. pic.twitter.com/kQJnH0G336
— Daniella Levine Cava (@MayorDaniella) June 25, 2021
Mayor Cava promised that the rescue crew “will continue to search feverishly, as we have done all along in the parts of the collapse that we currently have access to.”
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