By Rahel Solomon and Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Nice resident with a Philadelphia connection describes the horror of the truck attack.

Speaking to Eyewitness News, Maialen Mace described the southern coastal French town.

“It’s a paradise, you have palm trees, you have sun all the time, all year long, so yeah we just couldn’t expect this to happen here,” she said.

Mace did a college internship in West Conshohocken in 2009.

She says she had just left the fireworks on the promenade and was less than 100 yards from the truck when people started running for their lives.

French officials say Thursday night that the attacker plowed a truck into scores of people celebrating Bastille Day along a busy stretch. Dozens were killed.

“There was a lot of people, we’d see these people running everywhere and we didn’t know where to go, we just knew we had to find shelter, ” said Mace.

She took shelter in a restaurant, and then had doubts as to whether she was safe there.

“This is exactly what happened in Paris. People being shot in restaurants just trying to find shelter, like in other restaurants nearby. So that was exactly like a reminder of what happened, so we were like, ‘Wow. We are in real danger.”

Friday, honorary French Consulate Michael Scullin spent time speaking with those in Nice who live in our region and said Philadelphia has a sizable French population.

“We have about 5,000 French people living in the region, we have about 65,000 visitors per year so at any time some portion of them will be here,” Scullin told Eyewitness News.

Mace says she didn’t realize how deadly the night was until she returned home and turned on the television news. A night started in celebration, but ended in tragedy.

She says people there may have expected an attack like this during the Euro soccer tournament in Nice in June. But this, she says was a shock.

The Office of the French Consulate in Philadelphia tells Eyewitness News a vigil is being planned for Saturday.