First funerals held for Miami condo collapse victims: Mourners pay respects to family-of-four including two young sisters buried together in the same coffin, and the 92-year-old mother of a local police chief as death toll hits 36 with 109 still missing

 The first funeral for victims of a collapsed Miami-area condo building was held on Tuesday as mourners gathered to lay to rest a family of four, including two young children, and another woman nearly two weeks after the disaster struck.

The lives of Marcus Guara, 52, his wife Ana Guara, 42, and their daughters, Lucia, 10, and Emma, 4, were memorialized in a service at the St. Joseph Catholic Church in Miami Beach.

Three black Cadillac hearses carried the bodies of Marcus, Ana, Lucia, and Emma.

The bodies of two young sisters were  so tiny that the 4 and 10-year-olds were placed in the same casket, their white coffin draped with innocent pink and purple ribbons. 

Marcus' remains were the first to be pulled from the rubble on June 26. The girls and their mother were recovered on June 30.

Marcus studied business at the University of Miami, where he was the captain of the rowing team, and worked as a regional sales manager for New York-based bed and bath textile company Kassatex. But he was, above all, a family man. 

Pallbearers took two white caskets and one blue casket into the church.  

In a nearby church, mourners also paid respects to Hilda Noriega, 92, who was also among those killed in the condo collapse. 

As of Tuesday, the remains of 36 people were found - 26 of whom have been identified. There are still 109 people missing. 

Pallbearers carry a casket before a funeral service for Marcus Guara and his family at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Miami Beach on Tuesday. Guara's family of four was killed in the Surfside condo collapse on June 24. Marcus' body was discovered on June 26. The bodies of his wife, Anaely, and their daughters, Lucia, 10, and Emma, 4, were found hours after the collapse on June 24. The casket above is carrying the remains of the two young girls. The family asked that they be buried together

Pallbearers carry a casket before a funeral service for Marcus Guara and his family at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Miami Beach on Tuesday. Guara's family of four was killed in the Surfside condo collapse on June 24. Marcus' body was discovered on June 26. The bodies of his wife, Anaely, and their daughters, Lucia, 10, and Emma, 4, were found hours after the collapse on June 24. The casket above is carrying the remains of the two young girls. The family asked that they be buried together

The image above shows pallbearers wheeling Ana's casket before the funeral service for the Guara family on Tuesday in Miami Beach

The image above shows pallbearers wheeling Ana's casket before the funeral service for the Guara family on Tuesday in Miami Beach

Marcus Guara's casket is carried by pallbearers into St. Joseph Catholic Church in Miami Beach on Tuesday

Marcus Guara's casket is carried by pallbearers into St. Joseph Catholic Church in Miami Beach on Tuesday

Marcus Guara's body was recovered on June 26 - two days after the building collapsed

Marcus Guara's body was recovered on June 26 - two days after the building collapsed

Pallbearers wheel the casket of Anaely Rodriguez Guara into St. Joseph Catholic Church in Miami Beach on Tuesday

Pallbearers wheel the casket of Anaely Rodriguez Guara into St. Joseph Catholic Church in Miami Beach on Tuesday

The bodies of Anaely and the couple's two children were found in the initial hours after the condo collapsed

The bodies of Anaely and the couple's two children were found in the initial hours after the condo collapsed

Mourners console each other before the start of the funeral at St. Joseph Catholic Church in

Mourners console each other before the start of the funeral at St. Joseph Catholic Church in 

A mourner weeps as she touches Marcus Guara's casket at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Miami Beach on Tuesday

A mourner weeps as she touches Marcus Guara's casket at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Miami Beach on Tuesday

Pallbearers bring one of the caskets to the hearse after the funeral in Miami Beach on Tuesday

Pallbearers bring one of the caskets to the hearse after the funeral in Miami Beach on Tuesday

Marcus Guara, 52; his wife Anaely Guara, 42; and their daughters, Lucia, 10, and Emma, 4, are seen in the above undated file photo

Marcus Guara, 52; his wife Anaely Guara, 42; and their daughters, Lucia, 10, and Emma, 4, are seen in the above undated file photo

Funeral for family of four first held for Surfside condo victims
Loaded: 0%
Progress: 0%
0:00
Previous
Play
Skip
Mute
Current Time0:00
/
Duration Time0:34
Fullscreen
Need Text

Also, officials updated the death toll to 36 after eight more bodies were found in the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South building in Surfside, Florida.

Some 109 people were still missing as rescue workers battled high winds from approaching Tropical Storm Elsa.  

Officials said they still have not determined what caused the collapse.

The ramped-up search effort faced new threats from severe weather with Tropical Storm Elsa lashing Florida on a path that would mostly bypass the collapse site.

Miami-Dade Assistant Fire Chief Raide Jadallah announced the new death count to family members during a closed-door morning briefing Tuesday, according to video posted on social media.   

Pallbearers carry the casket of Hilda Noriega from St. Patrick Catholic Church in Miami Beach on Tuesday

Pallbearers carry the casket of Hilda Noriega from St. Patrick Catholic Church in Miami Beach on Tuesday

Noriega was 92 years old. She is the mother of Carlos Noriega, the chief of police of nearby North Bay Village

Noriega was 92 years old. She is the mother of Carlos Noriega, the chief of police of nearby North Bay Village

Mourners embrace as they leave Hilda Noriega's funeral at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Miami Beach on Tuesday

Mourners embrace as they leave Hilda Noriega's funeral at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Miami Beach on Tuesday

Noriega, who lived in Apt. 602 in the 12-story tower, only recently celebrated her 92nd birthday. Her body was discovered among the remains of the condo tower last Tuesday, June 29

Noriega, who lived in Apt. 602 in the 12-story tower, only recently celebrated her 92nd birthday. Her body was discovered among the remains of the condo tower last Tuesday, June 29

At another nearby church, Hilda Noriega, a 92-year-old residents of the condo, was also memorialized on Tuesday.

Pallbearers carried her coffin during a service at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Miami Beach. 

Noriega, who lived in Apt. 602 in the 12-story tower, was the mother of North Bay Village Police Chief Carlos Noriega.

She had only recently celebrated her 92nd birthday. Her body was discovered among the remains of the condo tower last Tuesday, June 29.

Her loved ones paid tribute to the 'matriarch of the family' in a statement.

Noriega's son had traveled to the collapse site on Thursday to look for his mother, who had only recently celebrated her 92nd birthday.

Among the rubble, the police chief found a birthday card a relative had given to Noriega at a brunch, reported Local10. 

Marcus Guara had just started a new job in November as a sales manager for a maker of towels and linens and often raised funds for charities, including St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, according to his Facebook account.

'He loved life and he loved his family. I mean, he loved his family dearly. He lived for them,' said Marcus' cousin, Peter Milián, who is vice president of sales for Clear Channel Outdoor in Miami. 

He added that Guara was 'the type of person that just makes everybody feel wonderful.' 

Teams continue painstaking search through condo rubble on 13th day
Loaded: 0%
Progress: 0%
0:00
Previous
Play
Skip
Mute
Current Time0:00
/
Duration Time1:37
Fullscreen
Need Text
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue released images on Tuesday showing crews sifting through the rubble in search of survivors

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue released images on Tuesday showing crews sifting through the rubble in search of survivors

Search and rescue crews sifted through tons of debris, mangled steel, and concrete in hopes of finding survivors

Search and rescue crews sifted through tons of debris, mangled steel, and concrete in hopes of finding survivors

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue crews are seen above at the site of the collapsed condo in Surfside, Florida on Tuesday

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue crews are seen above at the site of the collapsed condo in Surfside, Florida on Tuesday

The image above shows an aerial view of the search and rescue efforts at the site of the collapsed condo in Surfside, Florida on Tuesday

The image above shows an aerial view of the search and rescue efforts at the site of the collapsed condo in Surfside, Florida on Tuesday

Eight more victims were pulled out of the rubble on Tuesday, bringing the death toll to 36 people as of Tuesday afternoon

Eight more victims were pulled out of the rubble on Tuesday, bringing the death toll to 36 people as of Tuesday afternoon

On June 24, almost half of the Champlain Towers South Condo in Surfside collapsed. This image was taken on June 25

On June 24, almost half of the Champlain Towers South Condo in Surfside collapsed. This image was taken on June 25


Nobody has been pulled alive from the mounds of pulverized concrete, splintered lumber and twisted metal since the early hours of June 24 when roughly half of the building came tumbling down in an oceanfront town adjacent to Miami Beach.

Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett told a briefing that rescue workers have been bothered by strong winds as Elsa approaches from the south.

'The wind is hampering the large cranes moving very heavy debris,' Burkett said, adding that he met with a family hoping rescuers will find their daughter, a recent law school graduate who married in January, and their son-in-law.

Experts and officials have warned that the probability of finding survivors was remote given how much time has passed.

Officials overseeing the search at the site of the Florida condominium collapse sounded increasingly somber Tuesday about the prospects for finding anyone alive, saying they have detected no new signs of life in the rubble. 

Miami-Dade County Fire Chief Alan Cominsky said rescuers have not found any 'liveable spaces.'   

He said workers had removed more than 124 tons, or 5 million pounds worth, of debris to date.

Crews in yellow helmets and blue jumpsuits searched the debris for a 13th day while wind and rain from the outer bands of Tropical Storm Elsa complicated their efforts. 

Video released by the Miami-Dade County Fire Rescue Department showed workers lugging pickaxes and power saws through piles of concrete rubble barbed with snapped steel rebar. 

Other searchers could be seen digging with gloved hands through pulverized concrete and dumping shovels of debris into large buckets.

Search-and-rescue workers continued to look for open spaces where people might be found alive nearly two weeks after the disaster struck at the Champlain Towers South building in Surfside.

'We're actively searching as aggressively as we can,' Cominsky said at a news conference. 

But he added: 'Unfortunately, we are not seeing anything positive. The key things - void spaces, living spaces - we're not seeing anything like that.'

While officials still call the efforts a search-and-rescue operation, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said families of those still missing are preparing for news of 'tragic loss.'

'I think everybody will be ready when it´s time to move to the next phase,' said Levine Cava, who stressed that crews would use the same care as they go through the rubble even after their focus shifts from searching for survivors to recovering the dead.


This GOES-16 GeoColor satellite image taken on Tuesday at 8am Eastern Time shows Tropical Storm Elsa moving towards Florida after moving up from Cuba in the Caribbean

This GOES-16 GeoColor satellite image taken on Tuesday at 8am Eastern Time shows Tropical Storm Elsa moving towards Florida after moving up from Cuba in the Caribbean

The storm is seen above after slamming into the Florida Keys on Tuesday morning

The storm is seen above after slamming into the Florida Keys on Tuesday morning 

Tornado threats remain possible for most of Florida due to the approaching tropical storm

Significant storm surge is likely in the Florida Keys and the west coast of the state, according to the forecast

South Florida could see intermittent periods of downpours due to the approaching tropical storm

The Miami area will not bear the brunt of the storm, which could gain strength as it approaches the west coast of Florida

The Miami area will not bear the brunt of the storm, which could gain strength as it approaches the west coast of Florida

The entire state of Florida with the exception of the panhandle is under a tornado threat on Tuesday

The entire state of Florida with the exception of the panhandle is under a tornado threat on Tuesday

The storm could make landfall along the western coast of Florida sometime late Tuesday or early Wednesday morning

The storm could make landfall along the western coast of Florida sometime late Tuesday or early Wednesday morning


'Really, you will not see a difference,' she said. 

'We will carefully search for bodies and belongings, and to catalog and respectfully deal with any remains that we find.' 

Forecasters predict the area will be spared the worst of the storm. 

Still, concerns over the impact of Elsa prompted officials to order the demolition of the half of building that had been left standing, which was carried out on Sunday night.

 The National Hurricane Center says Elsa is strengthening and could became a hurricane before making landfall along Florida's northern Gulf coast. 

The storm has already complicated the search for survivors in the collapse of a Miami-area condominium 12 days ago.

In addition to damaging winds and heavy rains, the Miami-based US National Hurricane Center warned of life-threatening storm surges, flooding and isolated tornadoes. 

A hurricane warning has been issued for a long stretch of coastline, from Egmont Key at the mouth of Tampa Bay to the Steinhatchee River in Florida's Big Bend area.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava (seen above on Tuesday speaking to reporters in Surfside) acknowledged that the odds of finding survivors are low

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava (seen above on Tuesday speaking to reporters in Surfside) acknowledged that the odds of finding survivors are low

Surfside Mayor Charles W. Burkett speaks at a press conference about the collapsed Champlain Towers South condominium building on Tuesday

Surfside Mayor Charles W. Burkett speaks at a press conference about the collapsed Champlain Towers South condominium building on Tuesday

'Although the environment is not conducive for significant strengthening before landfall, only a slight increase in intensity would result in Elsa becoming a hurricane' Tuesday night or early Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center said in its 2pm advisory.

The Tampa area is highly vulnerable to storm surge because the offshore waters and Tampa Bay are quite shallow, experts say.

But on the barrier island beach towns along the Gulf Coast, it was largely business as usual with few shutters or plywood boards going up. 

Free sandbags were being handed out at several locations, and a limited number of storm shelters opened Tuesday morning in at least four counties around the Tampa Bay area, although no evacuations have been ordered. 

Investigators have not determined what caused the 40-year-old complex in Surfside to collapse. 

A 2018 engineering report found structural deficiencies that are now the focus of inquiries that include a grand jury examination.

Levine Cava cautioned that it could take some time to find the root cause.

'The whole world wants to know what happened here,' Cava told the briefing. 

'I look forward to learning the truth.' 

First funerals held for Miami condo collapse victims: Mourners pay respects to family-of-four including two young sisters buried together in the same coffin, and the 92-year-old mother of a local police chief as death toll hits 36 with 109 still missing First funerals held for Miami condo collapse victims: Mourners pay respects to family-of-four including two young sisters buried together in the same coffin, and the 92-year-old mother of a local police chief as death toll hits 36 with 109 still missing Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 07:15 Rating: 5

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.