The tragedy at the collapse of the Champlain Towers in Surfside, Florida, took a heartbreaking turn just last night. As the search and rescue crew was searching through the debris, they made a gut-wrenching discovery.
It’s hard to fathom, but the body of a Miami firefighter’s 7-year-old daughter was discovered. Miami’s WPLG Local 10 initially reported that the firefighter was actually among the rescuers who found his daughter but his search and rescue team found her.
According to officials, the firefighter, a member of the team that found his daughter, was notified immediately.
Miami-Dade County Fire Chief Alan Cominsky later confirmed the Miami firefighter was not part of the rescue crew who recovered the girl’s body, ‘but obviously was notified’ and called over when she was found.
Local10 reports one first responder at the scene said the girl was pulled from the rubble on Thursday night. Unconfirmed reports say after finding the young girl, the witness reportedly said the father wrapped his daughter’s body in his jacket and placed a small American flag on the gurney as she was carried out. The father, his brother, and others escorted her body through a group of 200 police and firefighters lined up on the roadway. The victim and her father were not identified.
During a press conference today, Miami Fire Rescue Chief Joseph Zahralban confirmed the body of a seven-year-old girl was recovered during last night’s search and that she was the daughter of a first responder:
‘We can confirm that a member of our City of Miami Fire Department family has lost his seven-year-old daughter in the collapse.’
‘She was recovered last night by members of our Urban Search and Rescue Team, Florida Task Force 2.’
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said the young girl was “a member of our fire family.”
The discovery of the young girl brings the death toll to 20.
The crews are continuing to work to try and find others, but it’s a tough job:
#MDFR #TRT & #FLTF1 are working in the basement parking garage at Champlain Towers. Firefighters continue working on locating possible victims, while dealing with heavy damage and changing conditions in the parking garage. #SurfsideBuildingCollapse pic.twitter.com/qseknk0T8q
— Miami-Dade Fire Rescue (@MiamiDadeFire) June 24, 2021
There is talk of demolishing the remainder of the building ahead of a tropical storm, but concerns about adding to the debris raise questions about whether it’s a good plan.
Information from Miami-Dade Rescue on how to help those impacted by this tragedy:
We’ve received many messages asking how to help those impacted by this devastating incident.
— Miami-Dade Fire Rescue (@MiamiDadeFire) June 25, 2021