ATHENS, Ala. – Heavy rain and strong winds caused quite a ruckus outside the Limestone County Courthouse Wednesday evening. A huge old oak tree fell in the square.
In a Facebook post Thursday morning, the City of Athens said former county judge Jimmy Woodroof believes the tree was planted in 1922, if not earlier.
“We pulled up in the car, it was barely raining at that point. We pulled up about 5 minutes before 6 and suddenly the storm started to roll in,” said Elden Hertzig who witnessed the storm.
Hertzing said he felt the wind move his car and what happened next was terrifying.
“My wife in the back screamed ‘Oh my gosh, here comes the tree.’ And the whole tree just fell down on the car,” he added. “As we were watching, it kind of happened in slow motion.”
A nearly 100-year-old oak tree sprawled across several parking spots, damaging windows, windshields and the bodywork of several cars.
“Luckily no one was in the cars next to us so we hurried to call 911 and got them to come down right away,” Hertzig recalled.
Community members stopped by the square to see the tree being removed, a few even grabbed a branch to keepsake. Some said they’re glad the city has initiative to get things cleaned up, but they’re worried this could happen again. Because there’s another oak tree similar to the one that fell just across the way.
People hope there’s a way the city or county can examine the remaining oak tree to make sure its roots are strong enough to hold it up.
Hertzig said he’s just glad no one was hurt but he’s going to take extra precaution in the days ahead “Be aware of your surroundings, because now that I’ve learned this. This makes me really wary about where I want to park,” he said.