At the Surfside Collapse, a firefighter who threatened to kill people was ‘overwhelmed’ by death.
The ongoing labor at the collapsed Surfside condominium complex had a big impact on Fernando Castano, a Miami-Dade firefighter who was detained for allegedly threatening his divorced wife with a handgun.
After the Champlain Towers South, a 12-story condominium building, fell, officials dispatched a large number of first responders to the scene. The hope was that rescuers would find people alive beneath the wreckage, but the month-long search and rescue campaign was only able to recover the bodies of those who died.
According to criminal defense attorney Michael Catalano, Castano, a nearly 21-year veteran of Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, worked at the Surfside site “from day one” until he headed home on Friday.
“The whole family knew he was unraveling, and they assumed it was due to the Surfside collapse,” Catalano added. “Everyone realized something was really, terribly wrong with what was going over the last two weeks.”
Catalano told Judge Ellen Sue Venzer at Wednesday’s hearing that his client was “overwhelmed” by his efforts at the collapsed condominium construction.
Castano, 47, requested a meeting with his wife and children at a restaurant on Tuesday, but they declined, according to WPLG. He then proceeded to the hotel where they were staying to try to talk to his wife about their marriage, according to reports.
“If you want to end things, I should end it now,” he allegedly remarked as he pointed a handgun at her. According to an arrest report obtained by WPLG, he also allegedly informed his wife that he would “do several killings and kill himself” rather than “end up in the back of a police truck.” He’s also accused of shoving his wife around.
“It was horrifying, based on what I heard from police officers. It was terrible, from the scent to the body parts. According to what everyone is saying, he lost control of himself,” Catalano told the judge.
Castano was detained after the incident and is facing five charges, including three counts of assault and one case of battery, both of which are misdemeanors, according to court records. In addition, the 47-year-old was charged with aggravated assault. This is a condensed version of the information.