Exclusive: Waterbury man escapes earthquake in Puerto Rico

New Haven

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — Billy Lopez is back safe and sound in Waterbury. But, earlier this week, he said he lived through a nightmare and he shared his story exclusively with News 8.

“You feel helpless because what do I do?” Lopez said. “My family’s all around me. If something happens what do I do? I can’t protect them.”

Lopez and his family were visiting relatives in Puerto Rico when the earthquake hit after 4 a.m. Tuesday. They were all asleep.

“It sounded like a roar,” he said. “It was like the devil. It was unbelievable. That’s what woke us up. Then the house…just like someone picked it up and just shook it.”

The next day, he and his family were in the car racing towards the airport to try and get back to Waterbury. But, Lopez said falling rocks were tumbling from mountainsides onto Puerto Rico’s main highway.

“It’s terrifying,” he said.

Along the way, he passed houses and cars that sustained a lot of damage. Fortunately, his relatives’ house was not significantly damaged.

Lopez said people there need necessities but most of all — they need medical supplies. He also adds many people are still trying to recover from another natural disaster: Hurricane Maria.

RELATED: Willimantic’s Puerto Rican community worried after island earthquakes

Now that he’s back safe in Waterbury, he sees himself getting involved in a possible effort to help the people of Puerto Rico recover from yet another blow from Mother Nature.

“We’re going to try to do what we can to do our part,” he said.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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