Houston man dead, another missing after Florida condo collapse
Houston - We’re now learning more about a man from Houston killed in the condo collapse last week in Surfside, Florida.
According to Miami-Dade Police, 54-year-old Manuel "Manny" Lafont’s body was found by rescue crews on Saturday. On Monday, we spoke with Lilly Beth Gracia. Lilly is a close family friend with Manny.
"His life was ahead of him," said Gracia. "He always made us laugh."
Lilly says Manny lived in room 804 and was likely sleeping when the building collapsed.
"Who would think a beautiful building, oceanfront in Miami, would just [fall]," said Gracia. "It’s unthinkable.
As of Monday evening, at least 11 people are confirmed dead while 150 remain unaccounted for.
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Gracia was taken to the condo Sunday with Lafont’s family for closure.
"It’s like a war zone really," said Gracia. "It’s just a pile of rubble."
According to Gracia, Manny had a guest staying with him when the building collapsed. Gracia says the guest is a young man, also from Houston, in his early twenties. The young Houston native is still missing.
"[The young man’s family] is going to need a lot of support," said Gracia.
Gracia says the young man had been texting his girlfriend just minutes before the condo fell.
"He sent her a text, around 1 o-clock in the morning, saying the building was shaking," said Gracia. "He was awake. Manny was found underneath a mattress. We think Manny was sleeping. This boy, still has not been found."
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Loved ones are remembering Manny, a father of two, while also remaining hopeful the other man from Houston will soon be found alive.
"It’s torture and they’re hopeful," said Gracia. "They have families in there that have hope. Each day it’s less, but there’s still hope."