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Mother With Broken Pelvis Saves Daughter From Rubble Of Partially Collapsed Miami Condo

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
surfside miami building collapse

On June 24th at 1:30 AM, Champlain Towers South, a high-rise condo in Surfside, Florida, partially collapsed. Ten are confirmed dead so far, with over 150 people still unaccounted for.

Angela Gonzalez, Edgar Gonzalez, and their 16-year-old daughter, Deven, were among the many residents who awoke to find themselves surrounded by rubble.

But what is miraculous about this family is the story of their survival, and how far one mom went to save her daughter.

After the condo partially collapsed, Gonzalez’s husband and Deven’s father, Edgar, was nowhere to be found. Angela and Deven fell four stories before sustaining critical injuries; Angela suffered a broken pelvis, injuries to her hips and knees, and a lacerated liver; Deven suffered a fractured leg.

Angela and Edgar's oldest daughter, Taylor, was not in the building when it collapsed. Edgar is among the missing individuals, as is their dog, Daisy.

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After regaining consciousness, Deven was stuck beneath a pile of rubble and began making noise so someone could hear her. Angela heard her cries and pulled her from beneath the rubble — all after sustaining a broken pelvis.

Angela Gonzales struggled to carry her daughter to safety, but she was determined to make it out of the building alive alongside Deven. After making it out of the rubble, Angela and Deven were transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital for surgery.

To promote healing and allow her body to rest, Angela was placed in a medically-induced coma. Following Deven’s leg surgery, Edgar's sister, Adriana Gonzalez Chi, arrived at the hospital to be by her family’s side.

During a visit a month earlier, Chi expressed her concerns about her family’s safety living in the building due to leaks and the presence of mold.

In an interview, Adriana recalled the conversation she had with her brother: “About a month ago I was standing on the balcony and saying, ‘This is not safe.’ I looked at my niece and said, ‘If you feel the building tremble, run.’”

While hope dwindles that the currently 151 missing people will be found alive, Deven's volleyball coach, Ashley Woods, has set up a fundraiser for the family.

The current cause of the partial collapse is unknown.

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Champlain South Towers is a beachfront high-rise condo built in 1981; it sits along the coast alongside other high-rises. Many Floridians have wondered what caused the condo to collapse, though the exact cause is under investigation.

On the morning of June 28, Surfside mayor, Charles Burkett, emphasized that buildings don’t fall down in America.

"There was something obviously very, very wrong at this building, and we need to get to the bottom of it, but not today, not tomorrow, and not for a long time, because our first priority and our only priority is to pull our residents out of that rubble,” he said.

In 2018, an engineer raised concerns about the building's structure.

A field survey from October 2018 indicated that waterproofing under the pool deck and entrance drive were causing "major structural damage."

"The waterproofing below the pool deck and Entrance Drive as well as all of the planter waterproofing is beyond its useful life and therefore must all be completely removed and replaced. The failed waterproofing is causing major structural damage to the concrete structural slab below these areas. Failure to replace the waterproofing in the near future will cause the extent of the concrete deterioration to expand exponentially," the report said.

Other experts theorize that the condos partially collapsed due to the ground beneath the building slowly sinking.

So far, it has been an uphill battle searching for survivors amongst the rubble, with smoke from a fire burning beneath the structure. Firefighters and other search-and-rescue personnel have worked around the clock to find survivors.

On June 25, President Biden declared a state of emergency at the site and requested FEMA coordinate disaster relief efforts.

Emergency officials are asking people to call 305-614-1819 if they have relatives who are missing and still unaccounted for.

This is a developing story.

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LaShawnte Burgess is a freelance writer at YourTango who writes entertainment and news articles.