Florida apartment collapse survivors escaped their lives, but there is no other way
Susana Alvarez escaped from her home on the 10th floor of Champlain Towers South, took her own life and fled with almost nothing.
“I have nothing,” said the 62-year-old survivor of the collapse of a Miami apartment building. “I walked out in my pajamas and cell phone.”
The disaster that killed at least 18 people and lost more than 140 people also left dozens of people homeless. Many lost cars were also buried in the underground parking lot of the building.
Although most people who managed to escape to safety live in the still standing part of the building, they have little hope of coming back to retrieve the clothes, computers, jewelry and sentimental belongings they left behind. ………………………………….. .
Officials said on Thursday that they are working on plans for the possible demolition of all uncollapsed parts of the building. The announcement was issued after several hours of suspension of search and rescue operations, as there are more and more signs that the structure is very unstable.
Alvarez is still dealing with the trauma. She has never slept in bed since it collapsed a week ago. Instead, she has been sleeping in a chair, constantly thinking about victims who cannot escape. She still heard the screams that night.
“I lost everything,” Alvarez said. “It doesn’t make any sense to me.”
Despite this, friends and even complete strangers have been helping to make up for what she has lost. A friend who lives with her bought her new clothes and a computer. An optical shop dispenses her medicine, even though she never called her. She got the last apartment, located in a 16-unit building, which was open to surfing survivors in July for free.
Survivor Gift Card
It is not clear exactly how many residents have been displaced, but those with insurance should be able to make up at least some of the losses.
The victim also seems likely to get some money from the liability insurance company of the Champlain Tanan Apartment Association, which has at least four pending lawsuits related to the collapse.
An attorney for James River Insurance wrote to the judge in a case this week that it plans to “voluntarily provide its full limit” from the association’s policy to resolve the claim. The attached copy of the policy shows that the limit is between US$1 million and US$2 million.
Michael Capponi is the president of a non-profit organization in the Miami area that has helped victims of disasters from hurricanes to wildfires in the United States and abroad over the past ten years. He said that he personally handled 50 People who lost their homes in the building.
Capponi’s organization, Global Empowerment Mission, has distributed approximately $75,000 in gift cards to Surfside survivors, and he has also worked with hotel and apartment owners to find places where they can live in the next two months.
Most of the people who contacted his non-profit organization for help lived in the parts that still existed, but believed that their houses and everything in them were completely lost.
“They basically have to start again,” Capone said. “Some of them are not insured. They have lost everything they have worked for their entire lives.”
‘Shake like a piece of paper’
Raysa Rodriguez is a retired postal worker who has lived in Champlainant South for 17 years and is about to pay off her mortgage. In a lawsuit filed with the Apartment Association, she described how the sound of the crash on the night of the collapse She woke up from the bed.
“The building shook like a piece of paper… I ran to the balcony. I [opened] The door and a wall of dust hit me,” she said in the file.
Rodriguez helped the neighbors escape to the balcony on the second floor, and the firefighters helped them to the ground. Now she has moved in with her family and believes that the remaining part of the building will be demolished and there is no chance to retrieve her belongings.
“She lived there for a long time,” said her lawyer Adam Schwartzbaum. “She plans to spend the rest of her life there.”
Red Cross helps 18 families
Ryan Logan, a disaster officer for the Southern Florida area of ??the American Red Cross, said the organization has been helping about 18 families, some of which have been looking for ways to help other victims.
“These people we are serving, we know they are experiencing the worst experience in their lives, and they are turning around and asking you what they can do to serve,” Logan said. “It’s amazing.”
Watch | US President Joe Biden visits the families of the victims:
Gabriel Nir and his mother and 15-year-old sister almost escaped from the apartment on the first floor. The family just moved in six months ago. Nir just graduated from university and lived there when he was looking for a job and considering going to medical school.
Currently, they are living in a nearby hotel, and the floor of the room is full of donations from friends and strangers. They have no luggage. Their car was destroyed in the garage of the building. But all the material wealth they lost can be replaced, he said.
“I am grateful that I can live with my family,” Neal said.