WHARTON, New Jersey -- A tree crushed a home in New Jersey during the height of Tropical Storm Isaias, trapping a 7-year-old girl in the rubble. But the homeowner, even though his house was completely destroyed, is simply thankful he got his family out alive.
When the enormous oak tree fell on Greg Ramirez's Wharton home, in an instant the world went dark.
"Everything just went black," he said.
His 9-year-old son was right next to him and easy to find in the rubble, but his daughter Mia was several feet away and buried in debris.
The house was collapsing around them, as gas and dust filled the stifling summer air. His prayer would have to be quick.
"'God, take everything away from me,'" he said. "'Take my house, take my things, help me find my daughter...help me take my family out, and I'll be OK.'"
He waved his hand in the dark above the pile of rubble -- it was hopeless of course. But hopeless is where prayers are answered.
"I'm reaching with my left to see if I can feel her, because I couldn't see her," Ramirez said. "Her little hand grabbed my hand. I grabbed with full force, and I yanked her out. She got scratched when I yanked her out."
He got both his kids outside and left them with a neighbor. His fiance was still upstairs, and he went back inside to help her out. The house was demolished and a total loss. But the family is safe.
"I think that's why I'm OK losing everything," he said. "Because I found my daughter, I got my family out, and the rest is just material stuff.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family back on its feet. Still, they are just grateful for what they call a miracle.
Dad frees 7-year-old trapped after tree decimates NJ home during Tropical Storm Isaias
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