The scene of the man carrying his jacket and body covered by a small flag of the United States has shocked authorities, rescuers and the general public.
Stella Katarosi’s body was found in the rubble of a collapsed building on Thursday, June 24, on a site near Miami. In addition, three bodies of minors have already been recovered.
The girl’s remains were removed by her father, who did not take part in the rescue operation, but his comrades allowed him to.
So far, there have been 24 deaths and more than 120 missing, including a 7-year-old girl. Stella’s father and her brother and a firefighter were on alert for the next nine days in the building, where they were on Thursday night when their comrades found the girl’s body.
The comrades called him and he was the one who carried the little girl in his arms and about 200 firefighters paid tribute to the victim and his comrade at the emotional moment.
“When she found out we were close to where we could be, she wanted to be there with her comrades,” fire rescue team captain Ignatius Carroll told local WPLG media.
“We were able to pick her up, at least give her a chance to say goodbye,” he said.
The girl’s father used his jacket to cover the body, covered it with a small American flag and took it out of the place.
According to the local 10 channel, the girl was visiting her mother, grandparents and Argentine aunt in Miami.
Stella was the daughter of Gracela Katarosi, who lived with her parents. All three adults are still missing.
“Every night is so hard for everyone,” Miami Tate County Mayor Daniel Levine Kawa said Friday. “But last night was particularly different and difficult for our rescuers,” he said of the emotional scene.
“We respect the privacy of his immediate family and the family of the fire department. We mourn the loss,” read a statement.
Francis Suarez, Mayor of Miami, said the entire department “feels deep sadness.”
“I am the father of two children. I have a 7 year old son. The thought of losing it this way is unimaginable. This tragedy has affected many of us because many of us know someone who was in the building or someone who was affected by the tragedy. In this case, it’s part of our family, our family in the fire department, “said Suarez.
“Every victim we take is complicated,” said Alan Kominski, Miami-Tate County Fire Chief.
“It was even more so last night when we took a colleague’s daughter out. We firefighters are doing what we have to do, it’s a duty. But it still costs money,” he concluded.