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Miami firefighter’s daughter killed in Surfside building collapse identified as Stella Cattarossi

SURFSIDE, Fla. – Seven-year-old Stella Cattarossi, the daughter of a 10-year veteran Miami firefighter, was at Champlain Towers South with her mother, grandparents, and aunt when the collapse of the northeastern side of the 12-story building happened last week in Surfside.

The Cattarossi family lived in apartment 501, which overlooked the Atlantic Ocean. Stella shared a room with her mother Graciela Cattarossi. Her grandparents, Graciela and Gino Cattarossi, were in the other bedroom. Stella’s aunt Andrea Cattarossi was visiting from Argentina where her three sons waited for her return.

Related story: Search-and-rescue team at Surfside building collapse site finds firefighter’s daughter dead

Gov. Ron DeSantis, Miami Fire Rescue Chief Joseph Zahralban and Capt. Ignatius “Iggy” Carroll, a spokesman for the department, said the team of Florida Task Force 2 Miami found her body Thursday night.

“When he was made aware that we were close to where his loved one may have been, then he stood side by side with some of his other fellow firefighters,” Carroll said. “We were able to bring her and then at least give him an opportunity to say his farewells.”

A witness said Stella’s father was with his brother, and he used his jacket to cover his daughter’s body, placed a small U.S. flag over her, and carried her out of the area. Witnesses said the Florida Task Force 2 team escorted him and a group of police officers and firefighters lined up on the roadway.

Seven-year-old Stella Cattarossi died after the building she called home collapsed shortly before 2 a.m., June 24. Florida Task Force 2 Miami found her body Thursday night. Her father is a veteran Miami firefighter. (Courtesy family photo)

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said Friday the death toll stood at 22 and there were 126 people who remained unaccounted for. There were two other girls among the list of the dead: The Guara sisters, 4-year-old Emma and 11-year-old Lucia. Their parents, Anaely Rodriguez, 42, and Marcus Joseph Guara, 52, also died. Crews recovered their bodies, police said.

Carroll said there was a powerful message for the first responders who are grieving for their colleague’s daughter: Spend quality time with loved ones.

“Tell them that you love them, that you care, because a lot of times those precious moments can be taken away from you at a moment’s notice,” Carroll said.

Complete coverage: Surfside Building Collapse

Complete coverage July 1

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden visit a memorial wall covered in flowers and photos of the missing Thursday, July 1, 2021, after a condo tower collapsed in Surfside, Fla. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Coverage on June 30

Search and rescue personnel work atop the rubble at the Champlain Towers South condo building, where scores of people remain missing almost a week after it partially collapsed, Wednesday, June 30, 2021, in Surfside, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Coverage on June 29

Search and rescue personnel work alongside heavy machinery to sift through the rubble at the Champlain Towers South condo building, where scores of people remain missing almost a week after it partially collapsed, Wednesday, June 30, 2021, in Surfside, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Coverage on June 28

FILE - In this June 28, 2021, file photo, workers search the rubble at the Champlain Towers South Condo in Surfside, Fla. Search and rescue teams from Miami-Dade have been described as among the best and most experienced in the world. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Coverage on June 27

This aerial image shows an oceanfront condo building that partially collapsed three days earlier, resulting in fatalities and many people still unaccounted for, in Surfside, Fla., Sunday, June 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Coverage on June 26

Rescue workers search the rubble of the Champlain Towers South condominium, Saturday, June 26, 2021, in the Surfside area of Miami. The building partially collapsed on Thursday. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Coverage on June 25

FILE - In this June 25, 2021, file photo, rescue personnel work at the remains of the Champlain Towers South condo building in Surfside, Fla. Harry Rosenberg, a New York City man, bought a beachfront home there to start a new chapter of his life after his wife and parents died. Now he is missing in the collapse of the building outside Miami. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Coverage on June 24

This photo taken from video provided by ReliableNewsMedia, firefighters rescue a survivor from the rubble of the Champlain Towers South Condo after the multistory building partially collapsed in Surfside, Fla., early Thursday, June 24, 2021. (ReliableNewsMedia via AP)

About the Authors:

Amy Viteri is an Emmy Award-winning journalist who joined Local 10 News in September 2015. She's currently an investigative reporter and enjoys uncovering issues facing South Florida communities. A native of the Washington, D.C., area, she's happy to be back in South Florida, where she earned a masters degree at the University of Miami.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.