SURFSIDE, FLA. (WSVN) - A survivor of the partial collapse of Champlain Towers South in Surfside has filed a lawsuit against the building’s condo association where she details her harrowing escape and claims she had warned the structure was unsafe.
Raysa Rodriguez’s account is part of a lawsuit she filed late Monday against the association of her now destroyed home.
In the document, the resident said she was asleep in her unit, number 907.
“Something woke me up, and I found myself in the middle of the room. The building swayed like a sheet of paper,” she wrote. “I ran to the balcony. I open the doors, and a wall of dust hit me. I couldn’t see anything outside.”
The resident said she managed to leave her unit.
“I ran through my apartment and out to the hallway … A concrete column had pierced the hallway from floor to ceiling,” she wrote. “The elevator shafts were exposed. The doors were gone.”
Rodriguez said she knocked on several neighbors’ doors, but there was no answer. She said when she saw “the beach side of Champlain had collapsed, pancaked, I screamed in horror.”
The resident recalled, “A lady from the rubble heard my voice. She said, ‘Please help me! Please help me! Don’t leave me here!’ I couldn’t see her. There were no lights.”
Rodriguez said she kept calling neighbors who told her how bad the situation was.
“Suddenly, my brother Fred called. He kept repeating, ‘Get out of there, get out!'” she wrote.
Rodriguez did get out, along with a few neighbors, down a stairwell. Among the neighbors, she said, was Ada, a woman in her 80s dependent on a walker.
She said they made it down the stairs to the first floor exit. She wrote, “…the door was blocked by rubble.”
Rodriguez said she went down one more floor to the parking garage.
“It was dark, and I could hear water flooding into the garage. I knew being electrocuted was a possibility,” she wrote.
Rodriguez said she and her neighbors went back up to the second floor, knocked on more doors and saw a neighbor’s door open.
She wrote, “I knew that exiting through the balcony was our best bet. We tried to open the sliding glass doors. It wouldn’t open. We were rattled and couldn’t maneuver the locks.”
They finally got the door open, and they were rescued by firefighters from the balcony.
Rodriguez’s attorney, Adam Moskowitz, said the condo association should have listened to her concerns much sooner.
“Raysa Rodriguez has been raising there’s red flags for months,” he said. “She’s been taking pictures of her garage. She has been taking pictures of cement falling, water dripping on her car, and it seems like all of this fell on deaf ears. Nobody seemed to take any of this seriously, unfortunately.”
The lawsuit states, “Raysa and her neighbors were four of the more fortunate victims” of the collapse.
Rodriguez’s lawsuit is one of three filed since the collapse, with more likely to follow.
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