Tree falls on trailer

Published 8:21 am Wednesday, June 30, 2010

COURTLAND—Stephen West watched helplessly Friday as a 50-foot tall gum tree fell onto his mobile home.

The tree crashed into the bedroom, where his wife, Becky West, and 4-day-old son, Jonathan David, were asleep. The Wests’ other children — Noah, 5, Joseph, 4, and Naomi, 1 — also were inside the home.

No one was hurt.

“I didn’t have time to think,” said Stephen West, who was vacuuming his car when something caught his attention just in time for him to watch the tree crash onto his home in Hyder Mobile Home Park.

“I think I was awestruck,” he continued. “I never seen anything like that before. By the time I got in there, my wife was running out with the baby, saying she ‘was alright.’”

The 29-year-old mom was fast asleep when the tree fell.

“The noise woke me up and I just remember seeing it falling from the ceiling and coming in,” she said.

Becky West grabbed the baby, who never woke up.

“He slept through the whole thing and he stayed asleep for the next 30 to 40 minutes,” she said.

Stephen West, who is the chorus teacher at Southampton High and Middle schools, was shocked to see the tree fall.

“It was real sunny and it was really hot,” he said.

The couple’s sons were inside watching television, and their daughter was taking a nap.

Stephen West isn’t sure of the tree’s age, and was unable to see the trunk in the weeds, but said the tree had leaves. A neighbor indicated the tree had been leaning.

Becky West believes the mobile home, which they rent from her father, Tim Parrish, was destroyed.

“There’s just a huge hole over the bedroom,” Stephen West said. “The pastor of my church and I put some plywood over it to keep the rain out.”

An insurance adjuster was due to assess the damage on Monday.

“It was only by the grace of God that they came out without a scratch,” said Parrish. “They were very understandably shaken up by the experience.”

“The Lord had his hands over us,” Becky West added. “There’s just no other explanation for it.”

The Wests are staying with the Parrishes in Courtland.