(CBS4) – Cassondra Stratton, a woman with Colorado ties, is among more than 140 people still unaccounted for after a condo building collapsed last week in Surfside, Florida. Cassondra, also known as Cassie, is married to Mike Stratton, a prominent Colorado political strategist.
Stratton released the following statement on Wednesday night sharing his heartbreak and appreciation for first responders as they dig through the rubble.
“While I continue to pray for a miracle, hope dims with each excruciating day. Cassie’s life was filled with love, friendship and adventure. No one who knows Cassie can think of her even now without a smile. Her passion for life would light up every room. Her interest in everyone she met made them feel important and noticed. The love she gave to so many reverberates around the world in a chorus of hopes and prayers that I know she can feel. I want to share my heartfelt appreciation for the brave women and men who are risking their own lives to find our loved ones. Home is wherever Cassie was and it’s how she made those around her feel. As we carry her in our hearts, she continues to give joy—and always will.”
Stratton flew to the Miami area last week. In an interview with the New York Times, Stratton said he was on the phone with Cassie in the moments before the collapse. He said Cassie was looking out from her fourth-floor unit and saw a hole opening near the pool area before the call cut off.
No one has been pulled alive from the rubble since last Thursday. The death toll climbed to 18 on Wednesday after additional victims were recovered, including a 4- and 10-year-old.
“This is the third largest building failure in the history of the United States – only third to Oklahoma and New York City – so we are doing everything that we can,” Jimmy Patronis, Florida’s chief financial officer, said, CBS Miami reported. He was referring to the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 and the terror attacks on the Twin Towers in 2001.
CBS News is talking to families, first responders and others impacted by the Florida building collapse as part of a special airing Thursday at 9 p.m. on CBSN. Download the CBS News app on your cellphone or connected TV to watch “Surfside Collapse: A Search for Answers.