Ankle-deep water had already covered the basement floor of the Valle family home on Wednesday before the unthinkable happened: Ida's floodwaters broke through a wall and trapped half of the family downstairs.
The collapse of the basement wall, caught by a security camera inside, could have been deadly to a Janice Valle and one of her sons. In a matter of seconds, the wall of water had filled the entire basement and trapped both of them in different parts of the basement.
"My son called his father to say goodbye to him, he thought he was going to die," Valle told NBC New York on Friday.
The son seen in the shocking camera footage made it to the basements steps safely and escaped the flooding without injury. He and the rest of his family had already been trying to empty the basement of the minor flooding before the situation became unimaginable.
"Thank god he made it to the stairs because the wall caved in and the water came in and would have crushed him," the Cranford mother said.
From the outside of the home, the collapsed wall looks like a mouthful of teeth missing. But back inside the basement two days earlier, the second son was trapped inside fearing for his life.
"All he knows is he was in between two beams so he's breathing, he lost his sense of where he was," Marlon Valle, their father, said.
That son had punched a tile out of the drop ceiling in order to find an air pocket. His brother and dad used an outdoor umbrella to punch out a window and pull him to safety.
At the other end of the basement, their mother was still trapped clinging to a boiler with maybe four inches of water to spare. Amid the commotion she could hear her husband calling out to her.
"Janice, you have to come here and open the window so I can pull you out," she remembers hearing.
"And I said, 'can you swim towards me?'" Marlon said.
The collapse of the basement wall caught on video has become a life-changing moment for this family, all four members of which have fared differently if the water and come any sooner.
"We're definitely going to live differently, enjoying everything. Everyday is precious," Janice said.