SURFSIDE, FLA. (WSVN) - A flaming torch symbolizing the victims of the partial condominium collapse in Surfside was extinguished in observance of the one-year-anniversary of the discovery of the final victim recovered from the debris.
On Wednesday, the town of Surfside held the gathering in honor of the 98 souls who lost their lives due to the June 24, 2021 collapse of the Champlain Towers South.
The event was held at Veterans Park located at 8750 Collins Avenue. July 20 at 8:09 p.m. marked one year to the recovery of the last person found.
The torch was lit June 24, during a vigil that was held in honor of the deceased.
“Representing the 98 loved ones that were lost in this tragedy, and the 27 days that so many people came together, around the clock, to help our community,” said Surfside Vice Mayor Jeffrey Rose.
The memorial marked the time from when the building collapsed to the moment when the search-and-recovery efforts to locate the last victim ended.
There was a moment of silence as the flame was extinguished.
“We come together today, on this day, to extinguish the torch. It’s not necessarily to forget, but specifically to mark the final family member to rest,” said Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Deputy Fire Chief Ray Jadallah.
“I think it’s just symbolic of a long process that’s going to continue,” said Surfside resident Hillary Feldman.
It has been more than a year since the tragedy, but the pain still runs deep.
While the flame of the torch may no longer flicker, the memories of those lost still burns on.
“There’s still a lot of — you know, healing is a long process. It’s a never-ending process, so I don’t think it will ever end, but it’s one part of it,” said Feldman.
“Each of those 98 lives lost will not ever be forgotten. We hope that this symbolic flame hopes to continue to honor their memories,” said Rose.
Back in June, a judge had approved a $1.2 billion settlement for victims’ families and owners who survived the collapse.
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