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A year on, Surfside remembers 98 victims of condo collapse

A year on, Surfside remembers 98 victims of condo collapse

SURFSIDE, Fla. (AP) — A year ago in the middle of the night, a 12-story oceanfront condo building in Surfside, Florida, came down with a thunderous roar, leaving a giant pile of rubble and claiming 98 lives — one of the deadliest collapses in U.S. history.

The disaster at Champlain Towers South also turned into the largest emergency response that didn’t involve a hurricane in Florida history.

Its victims were being honored Friday at events on the ground where, for two weeks last June and July, rescue crews descended from elsewhere in Florida and from as far away as Mexico and Israel to help local teams dig through the pile and search for victims.

Friday’s agenda includes a private overnight gathering for families to light a torch. First Lady Jill Biden is expected to speak at a public event organized by the town of Surfside.

Only two teenagers and a woman survived the fall and were pulled from the rubble, while others escaped from the portion of the building that initially remained standing.

Images of one survivor’s rescue traveled widely, offering a glimmer of hope right after the collapse, but the long, grueling search produced mostly devastating results as families torturously waited only to learn about the remains of their loved ones.

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Those missing in the collapse included the 7-year-old daughter of a firefighter who helped in the search, later found dead with her mother, aunt and grandparents; a woman whose cries for help were heard in the early hours but suddenly stopped; and two sisters, 4 and 11, pulled from the rubble, who were so tiny they were buried in the same casket. A 12-year-old girl sat down to pray across the rubble for her physician father, who was ultimately found dead.

The victims included local residents as well as visitors who were Orthodox…

Read full article on www.thestar.com