CARROLL GARDENS, Brooklyn (WABC) -- The man who escaped a building in Brooklyn as it collapsed knows how lucky he is to be alive.
Jacinto Salazar, 52, has a few scrapes and a bad headache Thursday, but he is also saying a lot of prayers of thanks that it wasn't much worse.
The three-story building he was inside came crashing down around his head Wednesday.
First he heard a creaking sound that he thought was the wind. It passed in about three seconds.
And that is when the whole building collapsed in a heap around him.
He was the only person inside, doing some minor maintenance at the gym where he'd worked for 18 years.
He was blinded by the dust, deafened by the sound and buried in the rubble.
Video from NewsCopter 7 showed the extent of damage:
Salazar struggled to get up. He knew he was on the second floor when the building collapsed, but when he finally saw daylight:
"When I go there, me estoy in first floor, I can't believe it, thank you God," Salazar said.
The building was empty, besides for Salazar, because of structural defects and efforts to repair it were stopped because that work was being done improperly.
Salazar, who was treated and released from a hospital Wednesday night, lost his phone in the collapse - but he knows he's lucky the phone is all he lost.
The Department of Buildings said it has issued an order for the full demolition of the remaining structure and a construction fence to be built around the property. A full vacate order was issued for the neighboring building until the site is safe.
The cause of the collapse remains under investigation.