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Victim's Stories Emerge As Rescue Efforts Continue At Collapsed Building In Florida

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

Rain and wind hindered the work of rescue teams in Surfside, Fla., last night as crews struggled to search the rubble of that collapsed beachside condo building. As far as we know, four people are dead, and dozens are missing. And it has left the community devastated, confused and demanding answers. A nearby memorial made up of flowers is a reminder of their pain.

While we don't yet know the identities of all those who have died, the families of the missing have been talking about their loved ones and what makes them so special. The Miami Herald reported that Cassie Stratton is missing. Her husband describes her as the most fun, vivacious person you could ever meet. The New York Times spoke with the ex-wife of Manuel LaFont, who said he is a loving father who is crazy about baseball. Some of the stories also speak of hope, like the one involving Jonah Handler. A man walking his dog nearby, Nicholas Balboa, had rushed to help. He heard the teenager calling out for his mother and begging Nicholas not to leave. Rescuers who saw Jonah's hand waving from the rubble eventually lifted him to safety. And although they could not save his mother, a family friend calls Jonah's rescue a miracle.

(SOUNDBITE OF ELUVIUM'S "PRELUDE FOR TIME FEELERS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.