The mayor of Surfside, Florida, described a chance meeting with a 12-year-old girl at the Champlain Towers South collapse site Sunday night that “hit me the hardest.”
“Last night, when I did my late night pass at the building there was little girl. She’s about 12 years old and she was sitting by herself,” Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Monday.
Burkett said he knew the little girl from a previous encounter and understood that either her mother or father was a victim of the Surfside collapse. Burkett said he found her sitting near the rubble pile scrolling through prayers on her cell phone “all by herself.”
“She was reading a Jewish prayer to herself, sitting at the site, by where one of her parents presumably is,” the mayor said.
“And that broke my heart. And I’m going to find that girl today and I’m going to tell her that she just needs to come to me for anything she needs because that’s the face of this problem, of this disaster right here – that little girl,” Burkett said. “By herself, completely lost, sitting there, on the deck, looking at the pile of rubble imaging one of her parents is in there. That should never happen.”