Firefighter charged in domestic dispute asks for leniency due to Surfside collapse work

Published: Aug. 2, 2021 at 1:50 AM EDT
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MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. (WPLG) - The lawyer for a Florida firefighter blames his client’s work at the site of the Surfside condo collapse for the distraught behavior that led to domestic violence charges.

Fernando Castano, 47, remained hospitalized Saturday morning after stabbing himself in the chest the day before during a meeting with police officers. The meeting came as part of an order to give up his weapons, stemming from a domestic violence case filed Wednesday.

Police say when Castano met with his estranged wife Tuesday, she told him all she wanted was a divorce. He is accused of pointing a gun at her in front of their kids, pushing her and shouting suicidal and homicidal threats.

Fernando Castano, 47, faces a felony charge of aggravated assault with a firearm, a battery...
Fernando Castano, 47, faces a felony charge of aggravated assault with a firearm, a battery charge and three misdemeanor charges of battery.(Source: Miami-Dade Corrections, WPLG via CNN)

According to the arrest affidavit, he told her while pointing the gun, “If you want to end things, I should end it right now.”

Castano has been a firefighter for nearly 30 years and just spent weeks searching for victims in the Surfside building collapse.

His lawyer and family friend, Michael Catalano, says Castano has been struggling since his work at the collapse site and needs psychological help.

“After all the dead bodies, the smell, he just got overwhelmed by what he was doing the whole time at Surfside ... It was horrendous – the smell, the body parts. It was just disgusting. He lost control of himself,” said Catalano during a virtual hearing Wednesday.

Castano was released from jail Thursday after posting a $10,000 bond. Records show the judge ordered him to stay away from his wife and children and to remain on house arrest.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue placed him on administrative duty pending further review of the case.

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