State volunteers help Puerto Ricans recover after earthquakes

Posted at 10:07 AM, Jan 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-28 15:45:53-05

PUERTO RICO — People who live along the southwest coast of Puerto Rico and even in the central mountains of the island continue to sleep on edge.

Earthquakes continue to rattle the area after a 6.4 magnitude struck in January.

Since then, people have lost their homes and some are even living in tents for fear their home may collapse on them if another powerful earthquake hits.


Members with the Florida State Firefighters Association and Boricuas De Corazon flew to Puerto Rico to help assist people in need.

Edgardo Grajales is with the Florida State Firefighters Association.

He and his traveling partner, Linda Perez with Boricuas De Corazon drove from town to town assessing homes that were damaged by the earthquakes.

At one home in the mountains, about two and a half hours east of Mayaguez, he spoke with a man whose home is now lined with cracks due to the earthquakes.

"I don't think it's safe in this house. I am going to call emergency management in this county. In this municipality so that they can come and double check this house so that they may be can condemn the house because it is not safe here," Grajales said.

For Perez, the most difficult aspect of the trip is telling people they may no longer have a place to live.

"This is the hardest part. Telling the family that they have to get out of the property. It's not livable because of their own safety," Perez said.

As a result of the earthquakes, the man who lives at the home Perez and Grajales were inspecting has now moved outside and is sleeping in a tent on cardboard boxes and the cement along with his wife and child.

"They are afraid to lose what they have, but we convince them. We have Laiza who is helping us," Perez said.

Laiza is an emotional support dog brought along the trip.

"We want to preserve the life. The construction, you can be able to make it a little bit later. We can find the funds for that but I cannot save your life," Perez said