By Brooke Shafer

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – As families wait for answers from search and rescue teams scouring the debris of the condo collapse in Surfside, a resident of the building said he should have been there but a simple decision saved his life.

Champlain Towers South resident Erick de Moura said last Wednesday night his girlfriend asked him to stay over that night and he agreed. The tower he lived in came tumbling down Thursday around 1:30 a.m.

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“My building collapsed and she was also shocked and no one believed,” said de Moura.

He and his girlfriend, Fernanda, are hugging a little tighter these days when thinking about what could have happened.

De Moura said on Wednesday night he had planned to go back to his condo on the 10th floor, but Fernanda persuaded him to stay. He woke to the news that his building, his condo, was gone.

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“It wasn’t about my home, it was about the life that I had there, the lives that are there, the families, the kids, it’s about community. it wasn’t about me,” he said.

As the search for survivors continues, De Moura feels lucky to be alive.

He’s hoping for good news for his friends and neighbors who were inside when their home collapsed.

“There’s a lot of hope still to find people alive,” he said.

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He said it was an unlikely move to stay at his girlfriend’s house in the middle of the week, but it was a move that saved his life.