Friday, June 14, 2013

Fallen trees condemn Peninsula homes - WAVY TV 10 News Updates

Updated: Friday, 14 Jun 2013, 6:15 PM EDT
Published : Friday, 14 Jun 2013, 6:15 PM EDT

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) - Residents across Hampton Roads spent the Friday cleaning up after Thursday's severe weather. The hardest hit areas were on the Peninsula and in James City County.
At least four homes were condemned due to storm damage in James City County. Five homes were condemned in Newport News. Several residents whose homes were condemned told they can't get over how close they were to being injured or killed by the fallen trees.
Some would look at the uprooted tree lying on Linda Roger-Johnson's home and see devastation. But Johnson and her husband can only see how fortunate they are that their loved ones are alive.
"My home can be replaced, and my granddaughter wasn't sitting in that room," Johnson said. "That tree would have hit her for sure if she was there, and she would have got it."
Johnson's 31-year-old daughter was the only one in the home on Windsor Castle Road when the storm passed through Thursday night. Johnson said she and her granddaughter were at the store when the 
tree came crashing down on her home.
"She called me and said, 'Something hit the house, and I can't breathe," Johnson said.
Johnson's daughter is on oxygen 24 hours a day. Neighbors told 10 On Your Side they could see Johnson's daughter pleading for help after the tree fell over.
"My husband and a neighbor ran over there to see if somebody was inside," neighbor Christy Smith said. "We could hear someone yelling that they couldn't breathe."
Neighbors weren't able to reach Johnson's daughter. Emergency officials arrived quickly and pulled her from the home. She was not injured, just very scared.
Even after almost losing her daughter and being forced out of her home because of tree damage, Johnson said when she looks at her condemned home she only thinks about how much she still has, not how much she's lost.
"What goes through my mind is, 'Thank God nobody was hurt. Thank God that tree didn't shift over to where my daughter was or cause any damage to break the wall down," Johnson said. "There are so many areas I can look at and see a blessing."
Johnson's family has homeowner's insurance. The family will be living out of a hotel until their home is repaired.
Tom Laveille's childhood home was destroyed by a fallen tree Thursday night as well. His home is now covered by a tarp where a large tree smashed through his house.
"When you see a tree inside your house you think a lot differently," Lavielle said.
Lavielle said you think about how much you won't get back.
"One of the rooms we lived in is basically destroyed," Lavielle said. " All the furniture and all the memories that I can relate to are gone."
Lavielle said when a tree damages your home you also think about how close your loved ones were to danger. Lavielle's mother was in the backyard with her dog watching the storm come in Thursday night when she heard a loud noise.
"She was walking towards the door and she said the tree hitting the house shook her to the ground, and it took pictures off the wall," Lavielle said. "When she got up, it was snowing installation inside the house."
His mother managed to crawl out of the home, unharmed. And, if having their home condemned wasn't bad enough, Lavielle said looters tried to steal from them overnight.
"People have tried to rob the house multiple times just in one night ," Lavielle said. "We had telephone calls from police officers saying, 'We've been at your house. People are trying to get into your house.' It's really odd that someone would really want to kick you when your down."

News story link and the rest of the story.  WAVY TV 10.
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