A woman who is among the more than 150 missing from the Miami Condo collapse called her husband to say she had seen the swimming pool cave in ‘and screamed bloody murder’ seconds before the Champlain Towers fell down.
Model Cassondra Billedeau-Stratton said in a phone call with her husband Mike Stratton that she had seen a sinkhole where their pool used to be before before the line cut out.
‘It was 1.30am, I’ll never, never forget that,’ Mr Stratton, a 66-year-old Democratic political strategist, told The Miami Herald.
Billedeau-Stratton, 40, had felt sudden shaking from her fourth-floor balcony and called her husband screaming before saying that there was a sinkhole, reports the newspaper.
Model Cassondra Billedeau-Stratton said in a phone call with her husband Mike Stratton that she had seen a sinkhole where their pool used to be before before the line cut out
Billedeau-Stratton has worked as an actress, model and Pilates instructor, bringing ‘a vivacious love of life to everything she does,’ her husband Mike Stratton, right, said in a statement
Mr Stratton, who was in Denver at the time of the call, told the Washington Post that she screamed that she had seen the pool deck cave in and ‘then the phone went dead.’
‘She screamed bloody murder and that was it,’ Mr Stratton told Billedeau-Stratton’s older sister Ashley Dean.
Ms Dean told the Washington Post that her sister ‘knew something was wrong’ in the says before the collapse as she had complained to her family about water damage in the building and heavy equipment being lifted to the roof for repairs.
She said it is hard to hold out hope for her sister to come back to her.
‘I want to have hope,’ she said, ‘but I’m a realist. I don’t want to hold on to false dreams.’
Billedeau-Stratton is among the 151 people who are missing after the 12-story condominium building in suburban Miami collapsed early Thursday morning. Ten deaths have been confirmed so far.
A structural engineer who inspected the Champlain Towers last year told CNN that the hole witnessed by Billedeau-Stratton ‘definitely’ could have been a factor in the sudden collapse.
Jason Borden said that if the pool deck or a structural slab near the building failed or had been compromised, ‘it could have contributed to the end result’.
Billedeau-Stratton (pictured at the top among those missing) is among the 152 people who are missing after the 12-story condominium building in suburban Miami collapsed early Thursday morning. Ten deaths have been confirmed so far
Mr Borden expressed confidence in the integrity of the Champlain Towers North and East.
He said: ‘You know they are maintaining their buildings. Personally, I am confident in the stability of those buildings because I’ve been closely involved with Champlain Towers East.’
Mr Borden said he had seen cracks and deterioration when he inspected Champlain Towers South last year but was not alarmed as it was typical of buildings of that age that are on the coast.
‘I saw cracks in the stucco facade, he said. ‘I saw deterioration of the concrete balconies.
‘I saw cracks and deterioration of the garage and plaza level but those are all things that we are accustomed to seeing and that’s why our job exists – to maintain and repair the buildings.’
Workers search the rubble at the Champlain Towers South Condo on Monday for the missing
Billedeau-Stratton has worked as an actress, model and Pilates instructor, bringing ‘a vivacious love of life to everything she does,’ her husband said in a statement.
‘Cassie is a wife, mother and true friend to so many,’ said Mr Stratton. He told Denver’s KMGH-TV that he and his wife spent much of their time during the coronavirus pandemic in the condo they have owned for four years.
Mr Stratton said he saw saw his wife on June 21 before he left on a business trip to DC, the Miami Herald reported.
The couple met seven years ago at a Super Bowl Party in New York and married two years later in 2015.
Billedeau-Stratton, who splits her time through Miami and New York City, was originally from New Orleans.
Mr Stratton told the Herald that his wife has so many friends that he created the phrase ‘everybody loves Cassie’ years ago.
‘She was the most fun, vivacious person you could ever imagine,’ he told the paper as his voice cracked with emotion.
‘She was full of life, we were always doing something. There are so many interesting places to go in Miami and we took it all in.’
Billedeau-Stratton loved walking and biking along the beach, her sister, Stephanie Fonte, told The New York Times. When the sisters were together, she often would make them pose for photos on the beach or near a burst of flowers.