As rescue efforts at the site of the Surfside disaster continue, more and more details of the horrific events are being revealed. Despite the immensity of the tragedy, with 33 Jews still missing (two were found) as well as over 100 non-Jews, some of the residents experienced nissim and survived the disaster.
One frum family, the Nir family, managed to escape a minute before the building collapsed. The mother of the family, Sora Nir, told B’Chadrei Chareidim how she and her children were spared from certain death.
Sora, a mother of 6, had returned that night from a Chabad gathering after midnight and began hearing ominous creaking sounds. At first, she thought someone was doing home construction work and wondered who would do such noisy construction work at such a late hour.
Sara’s husband was out of town and she was in her ground-floor condo with her two children, ages 15 and 25. She decided to complain about the noise to the security guard at the entrance of the building. As the noise grew louder and louder, the security guard told her he would check out the source of the noise. Suddenly, Sora saw that the parking lot was filling with debris from the building that was beginning to collapse. She rushed back to her apartment and saw her 15-year-old daughter in the hallway. She screamed at her and her son to run: “There’s an earthquake!” she screamed.
Her daughter insisted that she couldn’t go outside in her pajamas but Sora responded hysterically: “Run, there’s an earthquake!” Her daughter draped two towels over herself and the three of them ran outside toward the street. When they got there, they saw the building collapse in front of their eyes.
Sora said that she thought the world had come to an end. She ran through the streets with her children, as the air filled with dust. She was outside on the streets for four hours, with no phone or any possessions since everything was buried under the rubble.
After four hours, a man on the street, who identified himself as Yonah Ben-Avraham and said he had served in the IDF, asked her if she needed help. He took Sora and her children to a local hotel and registered for a room. At this point, the Red Cross stepped in to assist the victims and they funded the hotel.
Sora told B’Chadrei about the nissim she experienced: “Hashem showed me the signs. I returned late from the Chabad gathering so I wasn’t sleeping. Hashem showed me the hints to flee and I fled.”
Sora has six children – one is married and lives in New York, three are learning in Eretz Yisrael, and the two who were with her and were miraculously saved. “Baruch Hashem, I’m alive,” Sora said. “Baruch Hashem my children are alive.”
Gavriel, Sora’s son, told Israel’s Channel 13 News that all would have been lost if it wasn’t for his mother, explaining that his mother is very cautious and always checks things out if something doesn’t seem right.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)