LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – A woman and her two daughters barely escaped being crushed by a tree that fell on top of their family mobile home Saturday.
As a result of the weekend’s heavy storms, downed power lines and trees could be seen in areas of Lauderdale County including around the Woodland Hills Mobile Home Park in Florence.
Katie Heath was living in Trailer 19 at the park when heavy winds and rain approached the area. She describes waking up around 5:00 a.m. Saturday morning to the loud wind.
“It sounded like a train,” she said. “I could hear the tree creaking and then it just, it came down.”
The tree fell right through the trailer, crushing everything in its way.
“The wall actually moved my bed,” said Heath. “If the wall wouldn’t have moved my bed, the tree would’ve fallen directly on me. Like, inches.”
Heath was only inches and moments away from being killed or injured by the fallen tree. She, along with her two daughters and cats escaped unscathed. Most of her belongings weren’t as lucky.
For days, Heath has had trouble getting in touch with the new owner of the mobile home park. From her understanding, the ownership changed Friday, just one day before the storms.
Since then, the onsite manager showed her two potential trailers. Heath said both of the trailers were in rough condition. She said one had black mold and mushrooms growing from the floor, while the other also had mold and water leaks.
Within an hour of Heath’s interview with News 19, she finally received a call back from the new owner.
On the phone, Heath told News 19: “She said that she is going to get me into a new place. The problem is the old manager has had a death in the family and she’s dealing with that. But she should be getting the list of the units available today and she’s going to give me a call back. I really kinda think the only reason why she was telling me this was because someone was telling her that the news was there.”
News 19 also called the owner of the mobile home park and received a similar response. The biggest update was Heath and her family should be in a new mobile home quickly.
Even so, a lot of their belongings are still stuck inside Trailer 19.
“Almost all of my clothes were in my closet and the tree fell directly over my closet so all of my clothes are under there,” said Heath. She acknowledges while belongings are replaceable, human (and cat) lives are not.
She says escaping the near-death situation was nothing short of a miracle.
Heath’s cousin Tiffany Riley created a GoFundMe to help the family. On the fundraising page, she wrote:
“She is going to need some help replacing all the things she has lost. Washer and dryer smushed, mattresses destroyed by falling debris and rain, and clothes buried under insulation and also soaked and nasty from rain and falling debris. Not telling what else! She is out of her home and right here at the holidays. I know that not having financial burdens in the midst of everything literally falling around her would help ease her mind. Anything that anyone can do to help would be appreciated to the fullest extent!”