Watch CBS News

'No Amount Of Money Is Going To Replace My Daughter,' Victim's Dad, Others Want Surfside Condo Collapse Site Turned Into Memorial

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - The once 12-story building, reduced to rubble is now a nearly empty lot.

Officials say 22 million pounds of debris was removed from the Champlain Towers South collapse site and as work continues, efforts are underway to help victims and family members of the collapse move forward.

"Every morning I wake up, it's a never-ending nightmare, it's going to be forever," said Pablo Langesfeld. He lost his 26-year-old daughter Nicole when the condo came tumbling down.

Nicole's husband Luis, his cousin Andres Levine and Moses Rodan were also in the building when it came down.

"I didn't lose an apartment, I lost my daughter and no money in the world is going to replace that," added Pablo, who adds, he and his son Martin are among the victim family members pushing to turn the collapse site into a memorial.

"It's different when some people lose their loved ones, and some people lost an apartment number. I'm not speaking about apartment numbers. I'm speaking about a sister, other people are speaking about a mother, and a father and niece a granddaughter. It's people," said Martin.

But, Wednesday in a hearing to determine what happens next on the site of the collapsed building, some Champlain Tower survivors pushed for efforts to rebuild.

"We would like to have our homes back," said one resident during the hearing. "If you talk to any of us, you would hear how much we loved that place," another owner added.

Judge Michael Hanzman is overseeing the legal and financial fallout from the Surfside disaster and he says his goal is clear.

"My job is to make sure you get the value of what you are entitled to under the law. They own the land, they are legally entitled to its fair market value period," said Judge Hanzman to residents during the hearing.

But while the Langesfeld's agree with the property being sold and the proceeds going to victims and their families, they are against rebuilding.

"I'm not saying to not sell the land, the land needs to be sold and we need to be compensated for what happened but I ask for Miami Dade County, FEMA, or any other entity could step in and purchase that land so at the end of the day the property owners get what they want, the victims' families get the dignity and respect that we're looking," said Martin.

And now they are asking other owners to consider the ramifications of rebuilding on the site.

"You are living on top of holy land, on top of a graveyard and I ask would you want to live where your family died," added Martin.

They have also created a petition to encourage a memorial being built on the site, they gathered almost 2500 signatures in less than three days.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.