Downtown Miami courthouse evacuated. Condo cat rescued

Rescue crews continue to search through the rubble, now without hope of finding anyone alive, under the collapsed Champlain Towers South Condo in Surfside, just north of Miami Beach. Part of the apartment building with 12 residential floors collapsed June 24. The rest was demolished Sunday night.

People with loved ones at the condo, missing or safe, should call 305-614-1819 to notify officials. Anyone who lives at the Champlain Towers and is safe is asked to complete a Wellness Check form to help Miami-Dade County keep track of tenants.

Here’s what to know:

Three generations of the Cattarossi family killed in condo collapse, they were a loving family

Among the many who have died from the partial collapse of Champlain Towers South was the multi-generational Cattarossi family who loved the arts and culture.

The Cattarossi’s consisted of Gino Cattarossi, an 89-year-old retired engineer from Argentina, and his wife, Graciela Ponce de León, 86, a former diplomat from Uruguay; Daughter Andrea, 56; and Graciela, 48, and Stella, 7.

The bodies of all five family members were recovered from the rubble and identified.

They left friends and families in Uruguay, Argentina and Miami heartbroken.

“We miss them very much,” said Nicole Mejias, daughter of Marcelo, who is Graciela’s and Andrea’s brother.

Married for nearly 60 years, Gino and Ponce de León lived in their condo overlooking the ocean enjoying retirement. He was a retired engineer from Argentina and she was a former diplomat from Uruguay. In their later years, they served as “happy parents and grandparents.”

Their daughter Graciela was passionate about design, and had a successful photography business in Miami. She most of all loved her daughter Stella.

Graciela’s friend Kathryn Rooney Vera said, “Her devotion to her child was unparalleled.”

Graciela Cattarossi, a lifestyle photographer with Argentine-Uraguayan roots, with her 7-year-old daughter Stella. They both died in the Surfside condo collapse, along with Graciela’s parents, Gino and Graciela Cattarossi, and Graciela’s sister Andrea, who was visiting from Argentina.

Graciela Cattarossi, a lifestyle photographer with Argentine-Uraguayan roots, with her 7-year-old daughter Stella. They both died in the Surfside condo collapse, along with Graciela’s parents, Gino and Graciela Cattarossi, and Graciela’s sister Andrea, who was visiting from Argentina.

Andrea, 56, had flown in from Buenos Aires to help out as Gino was set to undergo a surgery. She had three sons, who live in Pilar, a city in the outskirts of Buenos Aires.

Read more here.

Downtown Miami courthouse closed after post-Surfside building inspection

Miami-Dade County’s civil courthouse was closed Friday after a safety inspection caused concerns.

The courthouse, built in 1928, was “temporarily evacuated” and a closure order was issued for floors 16 and above. It is not yet clear why a closure was issued.

The inspection was done due to the partial collapse of Champlain Towers South.

The courthouse clerks staff only returned to in-person work on July 1, after more than a year working remotely due to the COVID pandemic.

Read more here.

Cat living in condo collapse near Miami Beach found safe

Binx lived in apartment 904 on the ninth floor of Champlain Towers South when it came down two weeks ago.

On Thursday, the cat was found safe by a volunteer near the collapse site as they were feeding cats. After being taken to an animal shelter, Binx was reunited with his family the next day.

Binx’s home belonged to Angela and Edgar Gonzalez, who lived in the building with their daughters, Deven and Tayler, and their dog, Daisy.

“As you may know, pets are family, and this is a miracle … That’s actually Deven’s cat, so I’m sure she’s going to be over the moon knowing that they found her cat,” Maria Gaspari, a friend of the family, told WSVN-Fox 7.

Angela and Deven were among the first to be pulled from the rubble and were hospitalized. Tayler was not in the building at the time of the collapse. Edgar is still missing.

Read more here.

Family of teen rescued alive from Surfside condo collapse sues. His mom died

12:22 p.m.: In the first hours after the collapse of Champlain Towers South, Stacie Fang and her teenage son were among the few people pulled alive from the rubble in dramatic rescue.

Though her son survived, Fang would later die of her injuries. Her family has now filed a lawsuit against the building’s condo association — one of the latest in over a dozen filed against the association since the 12-story Surfside condo collapsed suddenly on June 24, killing at least 78 people and leaving dozens still missing.

Fang, 54, was the first victim identified by authorities in the days after the disaster. She lived in the building with her son, 15-year-old Jonah Handler, a 10th grade junior varsity baseball player at Monsignor Edward Pace High School.

Read the full story.

More bodies recovered, death roll rises to 78

11:15 a.m.: Heavy machinery scooped debris at the site of the collapsed Champlain Towers South Friday morning, ushering in the third weekend of a grim recovery effort in the town of Surfside since the tragic disaster.

As excavators turned over heaps of broken cement and twisted steel, smaller backhoes combed through the pile — no longer in search of survivors but victims, 14 more of whom were found in the rubble overnight.

The overnight recovery raises the death toll to 78 people who have died since part of the Champlain Towers South condo collapsed before dawn on June 24. At least 47 of the dead have been identified and their families notified, Levine Cava said. There are 62 people still missing.

“This is a staggering and heartbreaking number that affects all of us very deeply,” Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said at a press briefing Friday.

Read the full story here.

For a searcher on the pile in Surfside, some scars may never fade

Battalion Chief Nichole Notte, Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue, Urban Search and Rescue- Florida Task Force, talks to Miami Herald reporter Alex Harris about her experiences working on the search and rescue mission at the site of the collapsed 12-story oceanfront condo, Champlain Towers South,Champlain Towers South, in Surfside, on Thursday, July 08, 2021.

Battalion Chief Nichole Notte, Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue, Urban Search and Rescue- Florida Task Force, talks to Miami Herald reporter Alex Harris about her experiences working on the search and rescue mission at the site of the collapsed 12-story oceanfront condo, Champlain Towers South,Champlain Towers South, in Surfside, on Thursday, July 08, 2021.

10:30 a.m.: There will be many scars from the days that Nichole Notte and her dog, Dig, have spent searching the ruins of Champlain Towers South, hoping for signs of life and finding none.

But she knows one moment will haunt her. The recovery of Stella Cattarossi, the 7-year-old daughter of a fellow firefighter who had stood vigil at the site.

“The quietness of the site, all the construction machines shut down, nobody making a sound, no concrete being moved, no metal sounds, nothing. Just the sound of the footsteps of them carrying her away. It’s definitely going to live in my mind forever,” she said.

“Losing a child is hard enough, but digging for your own child is, is… no words.”

Notte, 40, is a veteran of the search and rescue trade. She’s spent 17 years with the Broward Sheriff’s Office and 10 years with Florida Task Force II, the urban search and rescue team.

Responding to disaster is often a difficult business, one that trains searchers to deal with death and suffering. But all her experience wasn’t enough to prepare Notte for what she saw that first morning, when she arrived a mere 45 minutes after the nightmare collapse.

Read the full story.

Crews searching through rubble at a ‘swift tempo,’ Miami-Dade police director says

9:42 a.m.: Heavy machinery scooped massive piles of debris off the pile at the site of the collapsed Champlain Towers South on Friday morning, marking the third weekend in the town of Surfside since the tragedy.

At least four pieces of heavy machinery were being used, with smaller backhoes diligently combing through the pile. A larger piece of construction equipment could be seen transferring heavy loads of materials to an adjacent pile, including pieces of crushed vehicles.

That was the backdrop to a single but continuous lane of morning traffic heading south down Harding Avenue, which also passed scattered visitors at the memorial wall.

Earlier in the morning, Miami-Dade Police Director Alfredo “Freddy” Ramirez told 610 WIOD news radio that work was continuing at a “swift tempo.”

“We’re going to be doing it until we’re done. I can’t really predict a time,” Ramirez said. “What I can tell you is that our fire rescue our officers are working 24 hours a day to bring closure to the families and then to go into that investigative phase with [the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)] as well as our state attorney. Our number one priority is to recover the victims.”

– Ben Conarck

Florida engineers to study, recommend reforms after Surfside condo collapse

6:50 a.m.: Members of four major engineering associations in Florida have convened to come up with potential post-Surfside recommendations for the Legislature, including whether the state should require mandatory reinspections of tall buildings.

Engineers are also considering who would be allowed to carry out those reinspections, and how they could be done without being prohibitively expensive for condominium associations.

And they will continue to support a bill that failed in the Legislature this year that would create a special license for structural engineers, something advocates have said could prevent building collapses.

Read the full story here.

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North Miami Beach residents enter evacuated building, retrieve items

6:50 a.m.: Residents of an aging North Miami Beach condo complex ordered evacuated last week over concerns about its structural integrity can get back into their units on Friday.

But only for a maximum of 15 minutes to retrieve essential items — and with a police officer as escort.

Aside from that brief opportunity for dozens of displaced residents, city leaders on Thursday doubled down on their contention that the Crestview Towers complex isn’t safe for occupation — rejecting the conclusions of an engineer hired by the homeowners association and leaving many residents scrambling for shelter.

The city ordered the building evacuated on Friday after the collapse of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside as North Miami Beach joined a countywide audit of overdue inspections on older high-rises.

Read the full story.

Upload photos of your art to support Surfside

6:50 a.m.: The United Way of Miami-Dade has partnered with the Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald to bring artwork to Surfside survivors following the devastating condo collapse.

The program, HeARTs for Healing, invites you to upload a photo of your artwork via the Volunteer Miami portal website for “healing and hope.” The art is an effort to support survivors who have lost everything and grieving families who have learned the search for live victims is ending.

Learn more here.

Key facts

6:50 a.m.: Here’s what to know Friday morning:

The death toll is 64. The number of missing is 76. The Surfside building collapsed at 1:23 a.m. June 24. The tower fell while residents slept. The side of the building that collapsed faces the beach.

The search-and-rescue mission is now a recovery effort.

The part of the tower that remained standing was demolished Sunday.

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