KOMO-TV(SEATTLE) — A tree that crashed down into a Snohomish County, Washington house during a recent storm — splitting it in half — narrowly missed the family of four inside it.
Homeowner Marlon Waske said that he, his wife, their two young daughters and their dog had just moved into the home about three weeks ago, and they weren’t even finished unpacking when a strong windstorm knocked over the large tree into their home this past Saturday.
“My wife and I were just sitting on the couch upstairs with my one-year-old and three-year-old daughters and our dog when we heard a big gust of wind coming through,” Waske, 38, told ABC News. “It seemed to be at least 60 miles per hour, and we could hear the branches hitting the roof. We thought, ‘Whoa, that’s getting bad,’ so we grabbed the kids and dog and went downstairs.”
Just three minutes after moving downstairs, the tree crashed through their home, he said. The tree stopped only about a foot away from his head, he added.
“When it came down, it sounded like a war zone,” Waske said. “It looked like it, too. Everything — debris, glass, the stairwell — came shooting down, and then it was just the whole room full of dust. Our ears were ringing.”
Neighbors came running down the street, he said, adding that “they thought everyone was dead until I put my thumbs up and showed them we were OK.”
“We ran outside, and we were all still in our pajamas and bare feet,” Waske said. “When we came outside, we saw our cars were completely totaled. Our neighbors took us in.”
Waske said he’s been frustrated with the slow response of his insurance company, who he declined to name, but he’s thankful for local tree services who helped remove the tree from their home on Wednesday night.
ABC News is respecting Waske’s wishes not to identify the city where their home is to prevent anyone from coming and trying to take something from the damaged home.
The family temporarily lived in a hotel for a little bit but has since been “bouncing back and forth” between Waske’s parents’ home and his wife’s parents’ home, he said.
“It’s been hard because we haven’t spent one night all together yet because I’m taking care of the dog at one house while my wife stays with the kids,” Waske said. “We haven’t gone to the hospital either. My wife’s got headaches. My ears are still ringing, and our bodies are aching. It feels like we were in a car wreck. Luckily, the kids seem OK.”
The father of two added that what’s even more heartbreaking about the situation is that he and his dad had spent over three months remodeling the “dream home” before he and his family moved in.
“One thing we did during remodeling was added steel brackets to a beam running across upstairs, and I think those brackets are what stopped the tree from going through and crushing us,” he said.
A structural engineer was scheduled to take a look at the home today to determine whether or not it was safe for workers to be inside and begin work on the home, Waske said.
“I just really want my house back,” he said. “I just want to rebuild it and have my family back together.”
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