Erick DeMoura was headed home the night that the building collapsed, but his girlfriend convinced him to stay at her place that was only a few miles away.
“Only by God. To me this is a miracle,” the 40-year-old Brazil native told reporters in an interview near the site on Saturday afternoon.
It’s a very sad moment. Very confusing,” he said. “It’s very tough to get in touch with my emotions right now.”
After dinner with his girlfriend and friends, DeMoura watched the Copa America soccer match between Brazil and Columbia before playing a game of basketball outside.
He told his girlfriend that he was going home because he wanted to get up early and go to the gym, after saying goodbye his girlfriend said “Why don’t you stay here?”
She convinced him to stay with her and to not go home to Champlain Towers, telling him she would take care of the wet clothes from playing basketball.
After that the couple sat and enjoyed a beer and fell asleep around the same time the 130-unit condo building collapsed.
DeMoura woke up to several missed calls, and a text from the woman who works at the Towers asking if he was okay.
“I had goosebumps. My heart was ponding. I got dressed and rushed to the building,” he said.
DeMoura describes the building as a friendly place where residents looked out for each other.
“For us, on the other side, we are glad to be alive.”
DeMoura has plans on buying his girlfriend an engagement ring, he also thanked his girlfriend for persuading him to stay the night at her place.