The community of Surfside, Florida, is reeling after the partial collapse of a condominium building, leaving 12 dead and 149 others missing. Hundreds of rescuers have been working around the clock, combing through debris with heavy machinery and bare hands looking for any signs of life.
Families and first responders have remained hopeful that loved ones have survived, while others have been mourning friends and family who were lost in the collapse. Here are the stories of some victims and how they’re being remembered by family members.
Luis Bermudez, 26; Anna Ortiz, 46; Frank Kleinman, 55
Despite his battle with muscular dystrophy, 26-year-old Luis Bermudez, Jr. always found a reason to smile, his family said. Rescuers discovered his body among the debris, along with his mother’s, Anna Ortiz, and his stepfather, Frank Kleinman.
“I could show you 10,000 pictures and 9,999 pictures he’d be smiling,” Luis Bermudez, Sr. said. “I’m very sad, I’m broken-hearted.”
Bermudez, Sr. last saw his son just before Father’s Day.
“I feel like I did everything for him and he’s very grateful he had me and I’m very grateful I had him. He’s a warrior and now he’s in heaven and I’m going to miss him the rest of my life,” he said.
Stacie Fang, 54
A dedicated mother, Fang was born in Brooklyn, New York, and moved to Miami almost 16 years ago where she worked in marketing, CBS Miami reported. Fang was pulled from the rubble and was transported to a nearby hospital, where she died from her injuries. She is survived by her family, including her 15-year-old son Jonah Handler, who was rescued by firefighters.
“There are no words to describe the tragic loss of our beloved Stacie,” Fang’s family said in a statement. “The members of the Fang and Handler family would like to express our deepest appreciation for the outpouring of sympathy, compassion and support we have received.”
“The many heartfelt words of encouragement and love have served as a much-needed source of strength during this devastating time. On behalf of Stacie’s son, Jonah, we ask you now to please respect our privacy to grieve and to try to help each other heal.”
Antonio Lazano, 83, and Gladys Lazano, 79
Antonio Lazano and his wife Gladys spent their last meal with their son Sergio watching the Miami Marlins baseball game, Sergio told CBS News.
Antonio studied accounting and worked at a bank in Cuba before leaving in the 1960s to avoid the communist regime at 21 years old. After immigrating to South Beach, Antonio moved to Orlando, Florida, with family and worked two jobs to be able to send for Gladys to come to the United States.
The couple knew each other for eight years before they married, spending time together riding bikes around their neighborhood in Cuba. Seven days after she arrived, they were married at Corpus Christi Church.
Sergio said his mother leaves behind “an amazing legacy” and was a devoted grandmother, acting as a mother figure to her two grandsons. He said she was loving, compassionate and an amazing cook who will be missed “dearly” by those who knew her.
Sergio said his father was extremely dedicated to his banking career and continued to work even after suffering a heart attack. He said his parents “always wanted to go together,” and knowing this, he’s at peace because they spent their last moments together.
Manuel LaFont, 54
Manuel LaFont’s ex-wife, Adriana, shared in a Facebook post that he was a dedicated partner and father of two. “My partner for so many years, father of my children who scolds me and loves me at the same time,” she wrote. “Manny, Daddy, we want to hug you again to tell you how much we love you .” His body was recovered on Friday.
This story will be updated as we learn more about the victims.
Natacha Larnaud contributed to this report.
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