Firefighter finds body of own 7-year-old daughter in Miami condo collapse

The discovery of the girl and another person brings the death count to 20, with nearly 130 still missing

Graig Graziosi
Friday 02 July 2021 17:47
Firefighters couldn't save woman trapped in collapsed Miami condo
Leer en Español

A firefighter responding to the Miami condo collapse found the body of his own 7-year-old daughter among the wreckage.

The grisly discovery was made on Thursday night as rescuers continued to dig through the Champlain Towers South. reports that a rescuers brought the girl's body out of the rubble, and her father covered her with his jacket and placed a small American flag on her gurney.

The child's body was escorted away from the area by the father, his brother, and a group of firefighters who dug her out of the rubble. Other firefighters lined the roadway to show their support as the grieving family departed.

"Our hearts and prayers are with the families affected by this horrific tragedy," Joseph Zahralban, Chief of Miami Fire Rescue, 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. She was recovered last night by members of our Urban Search and Rescue Team, Florida Task Force 2.

The chief asked for privacy for the immediate family and for the fire department while they grieve for the little girl.

In addition to the little girl, the remains of another person were found and removed from the rubble on Thursday, bringing the death toll to 20. There are still nearly 130 people unaccounted for.

The search has continued nearly nonstop since the collapse of the tower, with rescuers only halting to wait out lightning and, more recently, over fears the rubble may collapse further, potentially trapping, injuring or killing rescuers.

“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,” Scott Nacheman, a structural specialist with the FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Incident Support Team, told

After an appraisal by structural engineers the search was deemed safe and rescuers returned to the rubble. But a shifting structure may not be the only obstacle rescuers have to contend with in the coming days.

Hurricane Elsa is spinning off the US's east coast and could blow in over Surfside, though thankfully forecasters only give that scenario a 15 per cent chance of playing out.

However, should that occur, rescue officials said the workers would remain on sight until it became too dangerous to stay.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in