MEXICO CITY—A Mexican woman survived the September earthquake that leveled hundreds of buildings in Mexico City by clinging to an antenna on the rooftop of her workplace as the building collapsed beneath her.
Now her husband, who was searching the building to rescue her as the walls came down is recovering in the hospital, being hailed as a hero for evacuating 25 people from the doomed structure.
Marcela Guadalupe Arredondo Avila, 46 was preparing lunch on the rooftop of the five-story building located at 168 Bolivar on the corner of Chimalpopoca, Colonia Obrera, Mexico City, on Sept. 19 when the quake struck at 1:14 p.m.
Her husband, Jaime Uribe Rosales 44, who has worked in the building for the past two years, was down below attending to his daily responsibilities as a security guard, maintenance man, and doorman.
When the quake struck, Rosales ordered people from the building. The regular procedure is that those above the third floor seek shelter in a bathroom (smaller rooms, which better withstand quakes) while those below exit if they can get out within 15 seconds. Those who can make it to the rooftop quickly are advised to do so.
Rosales kept 25 people from being caught in the collapse before returning to the building to help his wife who was still on the rooftop.
As the building began to vibrate, it rattled the dishes that Avila had set on the table. With nowhere to go she grabbed hold of an antennae and held on for her life, her eyes closed as the building began to sway from side to side.
At one point, Avila opened her eyes and saw the building crumbling and closed her eyes again in fear, her daughter told The Epoch Times.
When the building collapsed, she was left standing in a cloud of dust, clenching the antenna, listening to screaming voices all around.
One of the voices she heard belonged to her husband.
Caught inside the building as the walls came down, he was fortunate to survive, pinned face down with just centimeters to spare from crushing weight. He was rescued from the debris by another security guard and was rushed to Hospital Regional 2 Villa Coapa del IMSS where he was treated and remains in an induced coma in critical but stable condition.
The family takes some comfort in the phone calls they have been getting from other employees of the company trying to thank Rosales for saving their lives.
Rosales has undergone an eight-hour operation on his left leg and left hand but his lungs are swollen with fluid due to his injuries and doctors remain worried about fluid on his brain.
Avila, his wife, is in stable condition after having an operation for a fractured third vertebra and another operation on her right leg. Doctors tell her she will make a full recovery.
Her daughter, Flor Cristina Arredondo Avila, 26, of Toluca told The Epoch Times that from her mother’s recollection, a federal officer had rescued her and she was taken on a stretcher to a safe refuge at a Comisión Federal de Electricidad building to await her transfer to a hospital.
The family is keeping vigil at the hospital where Rosales remains in an induced coma.
The family has set up a YouCaring page in hopes help may come from friends and strangers moved by Rosales’s story.
All proceeds will go directly to the family to aid in Rosales’s recovery.