During the earthquake of 1985, Alicia González fled of its house running while the floor opened and the walls fell. On Tuesday the 19th, she caught her in the street. A tower of light fell right in front of her.

On September 19, 1985, at 7:19 a.m., Alicia Gonzalez felt the floor of her house vibrate beneath her feet. It was only seconds before she looked up and saw the wall flickering and the floor had begun to open. She did not grab papers, shelter or valuables: she only managed to wrap his year-old baby in a blanket and ran off. As she ran, she looked back and saw the wall collapsing and the floor of her living room separated. Yesterday, exactly 32 years after that morning, Alicia again survived an earthquake.

Shwas 20 years old when an earthquake measuring 8.1 on the Richter scale shocked Mexico. “I wrapped the girl in a blanket and ran with her in my arms to my mother’s house, which lived about three streets. On the way, I saw people running and screaming , houses collapsed, a hotel had fallen and the facades of the buildings, many people had been buried, “says Alicia (52). Her mother saw her and breathed a sigh of relief. Little by little, they all appeared: she, her parents and her eight siblings were alive.

That night, Alicia and her family slept in the street. It was cold and they only had the blankets to shelter. They were not allowed to go home because their entire neighborhood – San Antonio Tomatlan, in Mexico City – was at risk of collapse . “We left ,not go because we could drop the house on top. We went to the street. We had no light, the government brought us water and blankets in trucks, ate what they gave us. In the saddest things I saw was the neighbors fighting for a glass of water.We were there and  we saw people passing in panic, shouting that their relatives had died.

The retort, the next day, finished turning the buildings that had remained locks. Alicia and her family lived for several weeks in front of her house, along with the rest of her neighbors. Then they were moved to a camp they built for the victims: they lived there for a year. The foundations of the houses of all their neighborhood were so fragile that they had to throw all their history down.

There is no consensus on how many dead were in that earthquake. Officially there were more than 3,000, although, over time, there were bodies that estimated that they were 10,000 or more. Alicia believed that the experience of having survived an earthquake with such power was enough for the timeline of her life. The earthquake yesterday showed her that she was wrong.

“This time, I was out on the street, I went out to buy chicken. At about 13.15 I started to feel the floor tremble. I know I said to someone ‘it’s shaking’, that I got under a crack and started pray: “Our Father in heaven, our Father in heaven.”  I tried to reassure myself, but a lady next to him caught a very strong panic attack, we could not calm her down, “she continues.

What happened, seconds later, made her think that this time she could be part of the fatal victims. “As the floor trembled so much, a tower of light fell with a huge transformer right in front of me and sparks began to flow everywhere. And I thought, ‘Here we are, here I am going to die, the time has come for me.'” Alicia thought that the transformer was going to explode and cause a fire.

Except because that baby wrapped in a blanket and today is an adult woman, Alicia did the same thing as she did 32 years ago: she  ran running to find her mother, Flora, who is 72 and was alone. “My daughter Dulce, who in the 85 earthquake was a baby, now has her baby,” she says.

Rescuers, firefighters, policemen, soldiers and volunteers remove rubble and debris from a flattened building in search of survivors after a powerful quake in Mexico City on September 19, 2017.
A devastating quake in Mexico on Tuesday killed more than 100 people, according to official tallies, with a preliminary 30 deaths recorded in the capital where rescue efforts were still going on. / AFP PHOTO / YURI CORTEZ

They went to look for him to the school while they heard, again, the overwhelming and repetitive sound of the sirens and the moans of the wounded . They also heard the cries of those who were looking for someone missing and who knew that one of their own was buried but did not know if he was resisting under the debris or had died. Her grandson was fine and Alicia breathed.

While they were looking for and finding their grandson, one of Alicia’s sisters was desperately searching for her daughter. Pamela was in school when the building split in two and the stairs collapsed . “My school split in the middle from the top and the floor got up,” she reaches to tell  before the phone lines collapse again. His mother suffered a crisis of panic seeking her and still, she apologizes, she can not speak.