Champlain Towers resident was saved by his girlfriend's request to stay over

Posted at 2:43 PM, Jul 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-07 14:43:00-04

"She said to me, thank God you’re alive and I said what do you mean," said Erick De Moura.

A terrifying phone call from a security guard who worked the morning shift at the Champlain Towers, is how resident Erick de Moura found out his apartment 1004 was gone.

"[She said] the building collapsed Erick, people are dead. [I said] what do you mean the building collapsed? [She said] people are dead Erick," he said.

On Wednesday, June 23rd, Erick and his girlfriend Fernanda Figueiredo were watching the Brazil and Colombia soccer game. When it ended, Erick had plans to go home.

"Everyone’s leaving and I told Fernanda, I’m going to go too because I have an appointment in the morning," he said.

But then Fernanda’s son decided to stay at a friends house.

"Fernanda told me, now you’re not going home, you’re going to stay here with me," he said.

An unlikely move to stay with his girlfriend during the week, saved Erick's life.

"The boy who survived and unfortunately his mom passed away. They were my neighbors. I’m 1004, they’re 1002," he said.

"I just say thank you God, you are here," said Fernanda.

Erick and Fernanda met with President Joe Biden last week.

"He said he was going to try his best to help us with this," said Erick.

To cope with the mental stress, Erick and Fernanda are in therapy. They said the Red Cross and other organizations have offered to help with free services but they’re using Fernanda’s therapist because she speaks their native language, Portuguese.

"I think its really good because its so hard to explain our feelings," said Fernanda.

"It’s very difficult to just share your emotions with someone. You need to have a bond with your therapist in order to share your deepest feelings," said Erick.

Erick said he’s grateful to be alive but is still waiting for answers. In the meantime while he’s searching for permanent housing solutions, he’s been staying at a hotel and with girlfriend.