Amidst tragedy—when a 12-story oceanfront condo in Miami collapsed on the morning of Thursday, June 24—an act of heroism was shown when a badly injured mom pulled her daughter from the rubble.
Angela Gonzalez, 40, and her 16-year-old daughter, Devon, were on the ninth floor of the Surfside Chaplain Towers when the level they were on collapsed and together they fell four stories to the fifth floor.
The mom was hurt badly, but despite a broken pelvis and other injuries, she pulled her daughter from the wreckage and both escaped to safety.
Both mother and daughter survived and were rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where Angela was put into a medically induced coma and treated for a lacerated liver, broken pelvis, as well as injuries to her knees and hip.
Her daughter Devon suffered a broken leg but was well enough to receive a visitor—her aunt Adriana Gonzalez Chi, who shared her niece’s account of how her mom grabbed her by the arm before she blacked out.
“She lost consciousness and was under some rubble, and was banging on metal for them to hear her,” Chi said, as reported by The New York Times. “And her mom must have been nearby.”
Meanwhile, Devon’s father, Angela’s husband, Edgar Gonzalez was last reported to be among the 159 people who are still unaccounted for.
Adriana had previously expressed concerns about the condo’s structural safety, while also citing complaints of frequent leaks and mold.
“About a month ago I was standing on the balcony and saying, ‘This is not safe,’” said Chi. “I looked at my niece and said, ‘If you feel the building tremble, run.’”
Following the collapse, a massive search and rescue operation was initiated, both above and below ground, and it could continue on for days.
At the time of writing, 4 people have been confirmed dead, while 127 people have been accounted for.
According to Miami-Dade County mayor Daniella Levine Cava, safety concerns about the building have been cited previously.
The Chaplain Towers collapse follows recently completed construction on the building. New York Daily News reports.
On Thursday, June 24, Surfside mayor Charles Burkett stated that roof work gets done on buildings “all the time” and “it’s hard to imagine that that could have been the impetus for such a catastrophic collapse, and I’m sure that it probably wasn’t.”