SURFSIDE, FLA. (WSVN) - 7Weather Chief Meteorologist Phil Ferro is one of many South Floridians for whom the partial collapse of a condominium building in Surfside hits close to home.
Speaking with 7News on Sunday, Ferro said he is still processing the loss of his uncle and godmother, Antonio and Gladys Lozano.
“In the morning, when my cousin called me, he was basically in tears,” he said. “I still couldn’t believe it, until we got the surveillance video that showed the building collapsing, and that just breaks your heart.”
Ferro’s cousin, the couple’s son, is Sergio Lozano. During a news conference, he described the moment he first saw Champlain Towers’ South condo.
“I tell her, ‘Lola, the building’s not there.’ She’s yelling, saying, ‘What do you mean?’ I go, ‘My parents’ apartment is not there, It’s gone,'” he said as he fought back tears.
Gladys was 79 years old. Her husband Antonio was 83.
A picture of the couple showed them celebrating Antonio’s 80th birthday. They would have celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary in July.
“My godmother was probably one of the most beautiful people in the world that I’ve ever known,” said Ferro. “For any occasion, she would cook. They would be the life of the party. My uncle Tony was very much quick with a joke, and they were truly the kind of people who whenever you needed, they were there for you, for the entire family.”
Ferro said his uncle’s dream was to live on the beach. During more than 20 years of condo living, the couple watched their two sons have children of their own, and they even got the chance to meet their first great-grandchild.
But that dream turned into a nightmare early Thursday morning.
“In the blink of an eye, everything is gone, everything changes, and so, we just need to love each other,” said Ferro.
Ferro said his cousins are coping and are grateful to have something that they know dozens of families still don’t have: the ability to lay their loved ones to rest.
“They were found together, and so we’re all just going with the thought that they never knew what happened. They fell asleep, and that was it,” he said.
Ferro, who has helped countless 7News viewers get through weather events, has some advice for those bracing for a different kind of storm.
“They may be gone physically, but they’re not gone from your heart, so, yeah, just have faith,” he said.
The Lozanos will be laid to rest this week.
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