Surfside Police Officer Joe Matthews won’t forget the man who called him looking for his wife, Cassondra Stratton, who lived in Champlain Towers South.
“There’s one particular gentleman named Michael Stratton, and he called me. He was in Washington, and he and I developed a bond," Matthews said.
He said Stratton continuously called him, looking for updates after Cassondra’s phone died amid the chaos on the night the building collapsed.
SURFSIDE CONDO COLLAPSE
“He called me every 20 minutes, and he did it between every 20, 30 minutes," Matthews said. "He would call me, and he would call me, 'Any update?' I’m like, 'no, Mike, I’m sorry, I don’t know,' and he would hang up and kept calling and kept calling."
Matthews works at the communications desk at the Surfside Police Department. On the night when the Champlain Towers came down, calls came in nonstop.
“People from all over the world, all over the country, calling, asking what happened,” he said.
The next day, Matthews met the man he’d talked to on the phone for hours.
“I came to work, and I met him at the reunification center," he said. "Actually, it was pretty emotional."
Now, more than a week after the collapse and amid ongoing search and rescue efforts, Cassondra is still missing.