Surfside condo building ‘swayed like a sheet of paper,’ survivor’s lawsuit says: ‘I screamed in horror’

Raysa Rodriguez says she was asleep inside the Champlain Towers condo building in Surfside, Florida when it started to collapse last Thursday morning.

“Something worked me up, and I found myself in the middle of the room,” she writes in a newly filed lawsuit against the condo association that ran the property. “The building swayed like a sheet of paper.”

Details about the lawsuit filed by Rodriguez on Monday were reported Tuesday by Miami-based FOX station WSVN-TV.

Rodriguez’s lawyer, Adam Moskowitz, says his client had been raising “red flags” about the safety conditions of the building “for months,” sending complaints and photos of cracks and other damage to the building association.


“Nobody seemed to take any of this seriously, unfortunately,” the lawyer told WSVN.

“Nobody seemed to take any of this seriously, unfortunately.”

— Adam Moskowitz, lawyer for condo survivor

In her lawsuit, Rodriguez describes what happened as she tried to investigate what was happening.

“I ran to the balcony. I open the doors, and a wall of dust hit me,” Rodriguez writes. “I couldn’t see anything outside.”

This aerial image shows an oceanfront condo building that partially collapsed, resulting in fatalities and many people still unaccounted for, in Surfside, Fla., Sunday, June 27, 2021. (Associated Press)

Somehow, Rodriguez recalls, she managed to get out of her unit. She says a concrete column had entered the hallway, and the elevator shafts no longer had doors.

She knocked on the doors of neighbors’ units, but there was no answer. Soon she started to recognize the enormity of what had happened to the building.

“I screamed in horror,” she writes.

“I screamed in horror.”

— Raysa Rodriguez, collapse survivor

She recalls receiving a phone call from her brother, who said, “Get out of there, get out!”

She also recalls hearing a woman’s voice calling to her from the rubble.

“‘ Please help me! Please help me! Don’t leave me here!’ she recalls the woman shouting.

“I couldn’t see her,” Rodriguez writes in the lawsuit. “There were no lights.”

Later, she describes gathering with some neighbors as they made their way down a stairwell in the portion of the building that was still standing.

She recalls that the door was blocked by rubble when they reached the ground floor, so they continued to the basement parking garage. The flooding in the garage had them fearing they might be electrocuted, she recalls.

Eventually, they decided to go to the second floor, where firefighters rescued them via a neighbor’s balcony, WSVN reported.

Rodriguez’s lawsuit is one of at least three filed in connection with the building collapse, with more expected to follow, WSVN reported.

Earlier Tuesday, condo collapse survivor Steve Rosenthal, who filed a lawsuit Sunday, shared his experience during an appearance on Fox News’ “The Faulkner Focus.”

“All you could do is go to the balcony and wait for your rescue,” he told Faulkner.

Tyson Houlding
Tyson Houlding is a 28-year-old associate at a law firm who enjoys walking, writing, and learning new languages. He is creative and bright, but can also be very unfriendly and a bit lazy.He is an Australian Christian who defines himself as straight. He has a post-graduate degree in law.