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Surfside residents try to stay hopeful as search continues for survivors in condo collapse

Surfside community reaction
Posted at 1:31 PM, Jun 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-25 18:03:40-04

The small community of Surfside, Florida is still reeling after a condo building partially collapsed Thursday. Crews have been working around the clock, searching for residents still buried in the rubble.

As the work at the site of the collapse continues, this community is looking for ways to hold onto hope.

“I thought I felt an earthquake,” described Grace Terrell, who lives across the street from the condo. “It feels like the Twilight Zone, kind of. The lives lost, the people missing.”

For more than a decade, Father Juan Sosa has led services at St. Joseph Catholic Church, which sits in the shadows of the now crumbled building. He says a dozen families who live in the building are registered members of his church, and 10 of those families are still missing.

“I just hope that they were out on a trip or away from Miami at this time.

“Ten were not accounted for, so I’m scared, I’m waiting, I’m praying to be rescued or acknowledged,” he said.

“We had to rush here and pray for all the people that were missing,” said parishioner Maria Gonzalez.

Gonzalez made sure she was in the pews for this special mass to pray for those impacted by the collapse. She doesn’t live far from here.

“I feel very sad inside knowing the feeling of everyone that we lost, or we can’t find,” she said. “It just breaks my heart.”

While prayer carries power, so does the strength of the dozens of firefighters trying to find people who might be in the rubble.

“I had a firefighter in my lobby who said, ‘I haven’t slept in two days,’ and his eyes were bloodshot, and he was soaked from the rain,” recalled Terrell.

Terrell, who lives in a building across the street, felt the collapse.

“Any person that I see is just in shock or just crying. It’s just are really sad situation,” she said.

While there are many questions still unanswered and many lives still missing, Father Sosa hopes people continue to hold on to what keeps them strong.

“I’m sure that many people are looking for healing and strength, and I think that they need to rely on their faith,” he said.

As of Friday afternoon, officials reported four people are dead, 11 injured and more than 150 are still missing.