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Firefighter Recovers His 7-Year-Old Daughter's Body From The Debris Of Collapsed Florida Condo

Firefighter Recovers His 7-Year-Old Daughter's Body From The Debris Of Collapsed Florida Condo

It was also reported that the young victim's uncle was also one of the rescuers who discovered the child's corpse.

Last month the 12-story Champlain Towers South condo complex in Surfside, Florida partially collapsed, leaving 24 people dead and 121 missing. A crew of dedicated workers continues to search the rubble for the residents of the high-rise condo. But for one Miami firefighter working at the site, this assignment became a tragedy after he painfully recovered the remains of his own daughter. 

The devasted father was seen wrapping his 7-year-old child in his jacket before placing a small US flag on the gurney, according to WPLG-TV. "It goes without saying that every night since this last Wednesday has been immensely difficult for everybody, and particularly the families that have been impacted," said Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, following the incident that unfolded on June 24. 



 

 

"But last night was uniquely different," said Cava. "These men and women are paying an enormous human toll each and every day." It was also reported that the young victim's uncle was also one of the rescuers who discovered the child's corpse. Although the deceased child and her father were not identified, the New York Post reported that firefighters and cops lined up on a road near the building site as the victim's father, uncle, and first responders took the body off the pile. 



 

 

"We can confirm that a member of our City of Miami Fire Department family has lost his 7-year-old daughter in the collapse," revealed Miami Fire Rescue Chief Joseph Zahralban. "She was recovered last night by members of our Urban Search and Rescue Team, Florida Task Force 2." Zahralban also urged people to respect the privacy of the grieving family. "We ask that you respect the privacy of the immediate family as well as our fire department family while we grieve our loss and support our own," he said. 

The child's untimely death was also addressed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis during a briefing. DeSantis acknowledged that "these are tough things" for search workers to deal with. "Obviously, we focus on the families, and rightfully so, but our folks have gone through a lot that are out there," added the governor. Ever since the search effort began, no survivors have been pulled out alive from the ruins. In addition to the deceased child, an elderly couple and two 4 and 6-year-old sisters were recovered from the debris.



 

 

Eleven days since almost 55 of the building's 136 flats collapsed, the search effort was halted so engineers couple secure the site and before demolition the partially collapsed building. The decision to bring down the building was made to eliminate any threat posed by the rest of the structure that was still standing. "As soon as the building is down and once the site is deemed secure, we will have our first responders back on the pile to immediately resume their work," assured Cava on Sunday night, according to CNN

The decision to demolish the structure came as Tropical Storm Elsa approaches South Florida with heavy rain and sustained winds of 60 mph. Racing against the storm, officials managed to bring down the building using a string of explosives just after 10:30 p.m. ET on Sunday. Soon after the condo was turned into a plume of dust, rescuers resumed their search. Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett noted that authorities are still working on the site with the mindset that it is a rescue effort. 



 

 

"It is absolutely not a recovery effort," said Burkett as he appeared on CBS's Face the Nation on Sunday. "There is nobody in charge really talking about stopping this rescue effort. And this rescue effort, as far as I'm concerned, will go on until everybody is pulled out of that debris." The cause behind the collapse of the 40-year-old complex is yet to be determined. That being said, a 2018 engineering report did find structural deficiencies which are now being used in inquires that include a grand jury examination, reports Reuters.

References:

https://nypost.com/2021/07/02/firefighter-finds-daughter-in-rubble-at-florida-condo-collapse/

https://edition.cnn.com/2021/07/04/us/miami-dade-building-collapse-sunday/index.html

https://www.local10.com/news/local/2021/07/02/engineers-monitor-damaged-structure-as-rescue-crews-continue-their-search-for-victims-in-surfside/

https://www.reuters.com/world/us/two-more-people-found-dead-miami-building-collapse-2021-07-03/

Cover image source: Getty | Photo by Joe Raedle