Orlando Moreno says his friend of nearly 30 years, 45-year-old Edgar Gonzalez, is among the missing after the partial collapse of Champlain Towers South.
“It was just surreal. Like, ‘What are you talking about?’ I didn’t understand,” said Moreno. “... I met Edgar our freshman year at Christopher Columbus High School. We graduated in 1994. I was the best man at his wedding and I've known him all my life.”
Moreno tells NBC 6 he learned of the collapse after getting a phone call from a friend around 6 a.m. last Thursday.
“So, I immediately called Edgar and he didn't pick up. And I called him, and I called him, I called him,” said Moreno. “And I texted him, ‘Are you okay?’ And then subsequently, I received calls from, you know, his family telling me that (Edgar’s wife) Angela, and (Edgar’s daughter) Deven, were in the hospital, in the ICU.”
Edgar’s 16-year-old daughter, Deven, and his 41-year-old wife, Angela, survived the collapse, and are in the hospital.
New pictures given to NBC 6 with the family’s permission show Deven smiling from her hospital bed. The first responders who helped her and her mother after the collapse are seen standing next to her in the picture.
“We're in a unique situation because we have someone missing that we're looking for, but we also have two family members that are recovering in the hospital. So, I felt I needed to mobilize myself,” said Moreno.
Moreno says Deven’s sister, Taylor, was not in the condo building at the time of the collapse. Family friends say Taylor’s been with Deven and Angela as they await news on Edgar.
Moreno tells NBC 6 Deven is expected to begin physical therapy in the coming days. He says Angela’s injuries were more severe, but her condition is improving.
Moreno’s encouraging those impacted by this tragedy to remain hopeful.
“There could still be a miracle. Just hold out hope,” said Moreno. “I know things seem bleak, but you know, until, God forbid everything is verified, just keep up the hope.”
Moreno says this GoFundMe account has been created to assist the Gonzalez family.