SURFSIDE, FLA. (WSVN) - Friday will mark three months since the Surfside condo collapse, and the families of the victims are speaking out saying they want a memorial to be put at the collapse site.
“On this day three months ago, 98 people woke up for the last time,” said Martin Langesfeld, who lost his sister and brother-in-law in the collapse. “On this day, 98 people went to sleep and did not have a next day.”
“Some days I wake up in tears, some days I wake up ready to live,” said Ronit Felszer, who lost her son in the Surfside collapse.
Family members of the victims are fighting to honor their loved ones.
“This spot is sacred,” said Felszer. “It is unacceptable that the last place my son was alive to be anything but a memorial. Ilan did not choose to die but, boy, did he choose to live.”
On Thursday, the families of people who died in the collapse shared their message to those who will be making a decision about what will happen to the site.
“We ask the people in the positions of power to please work with us in doing the right thing,” said Langesfeld.
Vicky Btesh, who lost her husband in the collapse, said 8777 Collins Avenue, “is and forever will be, home. Nothing outside a memorial should be built on top of this sacred land. This place not only reminds me of his death, it also reminds me of his life.”
“We do not, in America, build over dead people. We just don’t do that, and I will not allow it as long as I’m here,” said Monica Iken-Murphy.
Iken-Murphy lost her husband on Sept. 11, 2001.
“I’m having déjà vu,” she said. “This really brought back all the nightmares of 9/11 for me. I lost my beloved Michael Patrick Iken, and we don’t have remains of him today either, and I worked hard to make sure we have that world-class memorial and museum that we have today.”
Iken-Murphy understands exactly what the families of the Surfside collapse are going through.
She calls the site where the Champlain Towers South once stood, sacred.
“I go there and I feel home with him because I can’t take him home. I don’t have him,” she said.
“I will entertain any and all viable options,” said judge Michael Hanzman. “The only parties that are going to be harmed if that asset is devalued are these victims that have lost their loved ones and their property.”
Family members said there’s only one thing they want.
“The building did collapse, 98 people did die and for that reason, we ask for honor. We ask for respect and for a memorial to be made on this site and not one inch away,” said Langesfeld.
“I want this place to be forever his home, and my home and the home of everyone who lost their loved one under that pile of rubble and waited so many days for them to be found,” said Btesh.
“Help all of us, victim, owner, survivor, resident, help us all rest in peace,”
Investigators are still looking into what caused the building to collapse.
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