A woman who survived the collapse of a condo building in Florida said she escaped by climbing through the rubble in the dark with her dog.
Sharon Schechter, 60, described her escape to WPLG, saying she believes she was only one of two people who survived from her floor when the 12-story oceanfront Champlain Towers South near Miami partially collapsed early Thursday morning, a week ago.
Schechter, whose home is in a part of the building that is still standing, said she was asleep when she began hearing noises that were followed by shaking and rumbling. Multiple survivors have recounted that their entire apartment was rattling before the collapse.
“It felt like the whole building was shaking,” Schechter said, adding that she went to look out the window. “I said, ‘Oh my god, where’s the building? There’s no building.”
She quickly grabbed her dog, a poodle, and tried to evacuate, along with other residents, down the only staircase that was available.
The group came up against rubble blocking their path.
“We were screaming ‘Help! We’re here! Come get us!'” she told WPLG.
With her dog in her arms, she had to climb through rubble and over cars to escape.
“It was pitch black. It was like ‘Titanic,'” she said. “We are finding our way out until we get to some light.”
Schechter said as soon as she got out, all she could think about were her neighbors that might have still been inside.
“I feel like I’m mourning every minute for someone in the building,” she said.