SURFSIDE, FLA. (WSVN) - Family and friends continue to gather at the Reunification Center in Surfside to hear about their loved ones after Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava announced the death toll reached four overnight while 159 people remain missing.
Several of those at the center called out the names of their loved ones in tears as they waited to hear that they have been rescued.
“I just wanna have my mom, and I just wanna see her again,” said Rachel Spiegel.
The owners of one of the condos said two of his closest friends and their daughter were staying there. He said he spoke with them and was with them just four hours before the building collapsed.
“I was there every day of the week and I was there four hours before the collapsing,” said Rodrigo Selem. “We want to find them. They were close friends. They don’t speak English. They don’t have any I.D.”
He said he hopes someone will find them and that they are OK.
Mothers, fathers and newlyweds are only some of the people who are missing.
A pair of brothers went to check on their parents Gladys and Antonio Lozano the night of the collapse. Sergio Lozano said he heard a noise and thought it was a tornado.
“I went out to pick up the patio furniture to bring it in and when I opened the glass door, I looked over and there was no apartment,” Sergio said, holding back tears. “There was no building. I was down in the street before fire rescue trucks got there.”
His brother Antonio Lozano Jr. continued to explain, “He called me up and said, ‘Mom and dad are gone.’ I said, ‘What do you mean?’ [he said], ‘They’re gone. The building is not there.'”
The brothers told 7News their parents would be celebrating their 59th wedding anniversary on July 21.
They also said they didn’t come to the Reunification Center to find their missing loved ones, but to donate their DNA to be matched when their parents’ bodies are discovered.
Soraya Cohen is at the reunification site looking for information on her husband, Brad.
“But Brad is the type, he’s so agile and he’s so strong, mentally and physically, that he’d be hanging onto something,” said Cohen. “He’d be climbing on a crane. He’d be banging. He’d be thinking on his feet.”
“They’ve been so emotionally supportive,” she said. “Everyone’s been so loving and so supportive, but they have no information for the family and all they say is, ‘Well, it’s not safe to go in and rescue.'”
She’s begging for more to be done at the site of the destroyed building.
“I want to implore the search and rescue to go in,” she said.
Sabrina Campbell is searching for her friends Nicole and Rosland. The couple got married just a few weeks ago.
“Hopefully, they’re underneath there safe,” Campbell said.
“My mom is just the best person in the world,” Spiegel said. “Her name is Judy Spiegel, and we have not stopped giving hope that she’s there and alive, and we’re just praying and praying.”
Families are going through a rollercoaster of emotions, as they wait for any news about the people they love.
“You feel two emotions: you feel that you hope for a miracle and you believe in God’s grace, and I believe in my mom’s grit and strength and resilience,” Magaly Ramsey said. “At the same time, you feel that if that didn’t occur, that she didn’t feel a thing, and she’s in God’s arms and grace right now.”
Others at the Reunification Center are volunteers, hoping to comfort those who are hurting.
“It’s a lot of heartbreak in such a quick time, and so hopefully today, we’re able to, even by small amounts, try to help people and try and take some of that pain away,” said Elder Merrill.
“Man, it’s overwhelming,” said Jaime Blandon with MDFR. “You never thought this would happen in your own backyard. You see it on the news but to happen here, you would never think. It’s kind of rough.”
Those who have missing loved ones should visit the Family Reunification Center at 9449 Collins Avenue or call 305-614-1819.
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