3 trees crash into paramedic’s East Hall home
As a paramedic at Hall County Fire Services Station 6 in Lula, Lee Moon has been accustomed to helping others in need during times of crisis.
But in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irma Monday night, Moon found himself as the one in crisis and in need of help.
Three trees — two white oak and one poplar — came down on the home where Moon has lived with his family since 2003.
Family, friends clean up trees in East HallFamily and friends help a man clean up trees at his home in East Hall.
“I feel devastated and helpless, but I’m thanking God for all the men who have showed up to help me,” said Moon. “He’s blessed me with some good manpower.”
He got help Tuesday morning from his brother Tim Moon, son Jonathan and friends Ronnie McClure and Scotty Poole. The men were using chain saws to cut up the trees and moved the debris away.
Tim Moon, a powerlifter, spent about six hours helping before getting ready to leave Tuesday night for the Mr. Olympia invitational powerlifting competition in Las Vegas. He won the event last year in the 308-pound weight class with a lift of 804 pounds. He is hoping to defend his title this week.
“It really wasn’t the ideal time to do that because it’s wear and tear on my arms and shoulders, but family comes first,” Tim Moon said.
Lee Moon was in his own battle Monday night when the trees uprooted and landed on his house.
“I was sitting on the couch watching the weather; we still had power at that time,” Lee Moon said. “I heard a big crash and I thought my whole house was coming down. I ran in there and checked on my family and made sure they were safe. It seemed like a minute or two later another one came down. I’m not sure. It happened so quick.”
The trees damaged the back side of the home and left a lot of water damage from leaks from the impact of the trees on the house.
Moon’s son Jonathan estimated the trees fell on the home somewhere between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m.
“I was just walking through the house,” he said. “My nerves were jumping. The house started to shake.”
While he said his home has “pretty significant” damage that included “a lot of water damage,” Lee Moon said he was grateful his family was not hurt.
“The good Lord took care of my family,” he said. “We can fix this.”
He and his family remained in the home during the night, spending the night in the basement.
“We stayed here and kept emptying water buckets to keep water out of the house,” he said.
Shaking the house
Denise Banks and her adult son Justin also spent the night catching and emptying water from roof leaks in a bedroom and living room after a maple tree uprooted and fell on their doublewide mobile home near Lula where they have lived for 35 years.
She said she was sitting on the couch in the living room when the storm intensified between 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Monday.
“The wind was so bad, it was shaking the house,” she said. “Before the tree came down, I thought the house was going to go two or three times. It came down over top of where I was sitting in the living room.”
Justin Banks said he was standing at his bedroom window looking at the storm when the wind pulled the tree from its roots.
“There was rain on it and I was trying to see out as best I could,” he said. “You could just tell that it was just so intense, shaking and the noise and vents spinning on the top of the roof. I seen the trees start moving, then the burst calmed back down.
“There was another one that came right behind it,” he added. “It must have shifted the wind pattern. I seen the tree. The bottom of it just kind of twisted and broke and when I seen it start falling over, I dove in the floor. Glass just went everywhere.”
Unlike many other families, the Banks family did not lose its electricity.
The family has lived on the property of a little more than 5 acres since 1973, first in a singlewide mobile home, before getting the doublewide nine years later. Denise Banks said the family rebuilt part of the home after a fire in 2012.
The family was waiting Tuesday for information from its insurance company but planned to stay in the home.
“We moved all our furniture to the end of the living room,” Denise Banks said. “We just had to hope nothing else was going to happen. (The storm) went on for a good long time."
Boom in Lula
While Tropical Storm Irma uprooted an oak tree that fell on her Lula home, Martha Morris said she was grateful she and her husband, Doug, could stay in their home after sustaining roof damage over the dining room and a porch.
“We just kept trash cans under (the dining room leak) and went to bed,” she said. “Inside, it was just a little space, about 2 foot by 6 or 8 inches. A limb came through the dining room roof. It mostly took out the porch and the roof.”
She said she did hear a “boom” when the tree hit the roof, sometime between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.
“Somebody said the winds were only like 25 miles per hour,” said Morris. “They weren’t in Lula. I know those winds were at least 75 or 80 miles per hour. It was really bad. Thankfully, nobody was on the porch.”
She and her husband have lived in the home since 1985, and his parents lived in the house before that.
Without power, Morris said she was going to get the generator hooked up.
“We’re hooking up our generators now to have coffee,” she said Tuesday morning. “As long as we can get some coffee, the rest of it is fine. I know there’s people that’s got more damage than we had.”
Trees crushed cars and fell on some homes throughout Hall County as others pulled down power poles and blocked roadways.Hall County officials are assessing damage and asking residents to report nonemergencies by calling 770-718-3300. Those with structural damage are asked to report it to the GEMA website.