(SURFSIDE, Fla.) — From the mother of a teenage boy rescued from the rubble to a couple married for 59 years, fuller portraits are emerging of the victims of the Surfside, Florida, condominium collapse.
The death toll climbed to 9 on Sunday, three days after the 12-story Champlain Towers South partially collapsed in the middle of the night.
The Miami-Dade mayor confirmed that the deep smoldering fires have been extinguished making search and rescue easier for first responders. Also, Governor Ron DeSantis stated that FEMA is on the scene offering much-needed financial help to residents.
Authorities said another 150 remain unaccounted for as family members have desperately searched for information on their whereabouts. Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said officials are still considering this a search and rescue mission and are holding out hope survivors can be found in the wreckage.
The Miami-Dade Police Department has identified four of the five victims of the collapse.
Stacie Dawn Fang, 54
Fang, whose body was recovered Thursday, was the first victim to be identified in the tragedy.
“There are no words to describe the tragic loss of our beloved Stacie,” the 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.”
Fang’s 15-year-old son, Jonah Handler, was spotted in the rubble by a man walking his dog when the building collapsed and then rescued by first responders.
“We could hear someone screaming, yelling, making noise,” Nicholas Balboa told ABC News. “He was putting his hands up through the rubble, saying, ‘Don’t leave me, don’t leave me.’ That’s when I signaled firefighters to get over here.”
Fang lived in apartment No. 1002, according to authorities.
Gladys and Antonio Lozano, 79 and 83
The married couple was identified as victims of the collapse on Saturday.
Married for 59 years, the couple’s grandson said they always sparred over who would die first — neither willing to live without the other.
“It’s tragic but it’s strangely unsettling that I have peace knowing they would constantly play argue about who would pass first,” Brian Lozano told ABC News in a statement. “But in the end … they got what they both wanted. Each other.”
“Both were avid donators to non profit organizations especially to cancer since my grandmother lost her mother to the sickness,” the statement continued. “Always providing for anyone who’s in need or just to spark a smile on someone’s face. Their souls were truly beautiful and are now blessed.”
Sergio Lozano, the couple’s son, ate dinner with his parents Wednesday night and lived in the tower across from his parents, he told Miami ABC affiliate WPLG. He said he heard a rumble at 1 a.m. and got out of bed and went out onto the balcony.
“I tell [my wife], ‘It’s not there,'” he told WPLG. “And she’s yelling, ‘What do you mean?’ ‘My parents apartment is not there, it’s gone!’ and I just ran downstairs,” Lozano said.
The Lozanos lived in apartment No. 903.
Manuel LaFont, 54
LaFont’s body was recovered on Friday and identified on Saturday.
He was the father of two, a son and daughter, according to WPLG.
Before the discovery of his body, LaFont’s ex-wife, Adriana, the mother of his children, told USA Today, “When I saw [the wreckage], I almost died. It felt like those walls fell on me, too.”
LaFont lived in apartment No. 801.
ABC News’ Matt Foster contributed to this report.
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