New Jersey

NJ Father Frees Daughter After Tree Crushes Home During Isaias, Trapping Her

After a massive tree came crashing down onto his family's home, a father faced any parent's worst nightmare: He couldn't find his young daughter amid all the debris, and immediately feared for the worst

NBC Universal, Inc.

A New Jersey family is counting their blessings after a fallen tree brought a part of their house down right around them — but thankfully all made it out alive.

Greg Ramirez said it was like instinct took over just moments before a massive tree came crashing down onto his home in Wharton.

"When it all happened, everything went in slow motion. My instincts were — save your family, just save your family," Ramirez told NBC New York. "I've never felt this uneasiness before."

At the height of Tropical Storm Isaias, the tree was felled by the strong winds and rain that brought down enough limbs and power lines to trigger outages for millions throughout the tri-state area, some of whom were still without power more than three days later. Ramirez's daughter remembered the sound she heard when the tree came down onto her family's home.

"It sounded like a big boom!" Mia recalled hearing.

Ramirez was trapped inside with his fiancee and two young children. His 9-year-old son Jayden was there by his side, but 7-year-old Mia was nowhere to be found in all the debris around.

"After a few seconds, I said God I can't find her. Take everything from me, take my things, take the house. Help me find my daughter, help me get my family out and I'll be happy, just help me do this," Ramirez said went through his mind as he panicked and frantically began searching for Mia.

Fortunately his prayers were answered very soon after, as he felt something grab for him from below.

"As soon as I finished my prayer I felt a little hand grab my hand, and that's where I just pulled her out" from the debris, Ramirez said.

Ramirez and the children were together on the first floor of the home — while his fiancee and their mother was on the second floor, the part of the home that was split in half.

"When I came outside and saw everything, that's when I broke down," said Maria Jaramillo. "I couldn't believe they were OK and we all made it out."

Jaramillo counts herself lucky she wasn't sitting in her home office doing work at the time the tree smashed into the home — as the situation would've been much more dire.

"It's what I consider saved my life. I would've been working in my room, I would've been really hurt or killed," she said.

The family has rented the home for the last two and a half years, their first house together after moving out of an apartment. A GoFundMe page has already raised thousands of dollars as they pick up the pieces and figure out what comes next.

But the important part for all of them is that they're all still here together, safe and sound.

"I can't describe it, honestly. When I think about it, I saw my son and I was thankful he was alive, but when I couldn't find my daughter, I thought the worst," Ramirez said. "I said a prayer and God listened, and I just continue on his path."

Contact Us