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Eyewitness of Edgefield building collapse helps save woman from crushed car

Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 7:16 PM EDT
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EDGEFIELD, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - New sounds and sights from the scene of a building collapse in downtown Edgefield. Local police say the woman is lucky to be alive. And now we’re hearing from one of the two people who jumped into action to help rescue her.

We’ve talked to both bystanders seen helping police in that video. Neither wanted to go on camera so we blurred their faces. But we did get the chance to talk to one of them who says they’re just thankful they found her in the first place.

Seconds after bricks rained down on Donna Cienega they were there.

“I saw the brake lights flickering, so I knew somebody had to be in the car, I put two and two together with that, and went over there to try and check on that lady,” said an eyewitness of the incident who chose to remain anonymous.

Under all those bricks she’s alive.

“She starts talking to me, yelling for help, somebody to help her get out of the car. She kept saying what happened, what happened.”

The bricks trapped her. The roof caved in. Glass covered her body.

“She was actually kind of starting to panic a little bit, because she couldn’t move I guess, of course, she had a wall sitting on top of her.”

Cienega got several bruises and a fractured rib from this. Emergency services arrived minutes after it happened and took her to the hospital, where they released her later that night. She may have been trapped but she wasn’t on her own.

“I’m glad somebody found her, because there’s no telling how long she would’ve sat there until somebody found out she was in the car.”

You can see just how much damage has been done. How much the roof is caved in.

We’re working to learn more about the building that collapsed. Code enforcement says it’s been condemned for at least a decade. We’ve requested that building’s citation history. That information is unavailable at this time.

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