Tree falls on home as wind gusts reach 100km/h

December 28, 2017

SES crew members working to remove the fallen tree from the Hillson St house.

Ruth Coates received the shock of her life when a tree fell on her Tocumwal home during a windstorm that hit the region on Tuesday last week.

Ms Coates heard a loud crash about 6.30pm and raced outside to find a large tree had caved in parts of her roof and knocked the top off two brick chimneys. She immediately called triple zero.

The tree was uprooted from the slope of an embankment that runs alongside the Hillson St home, near the Goulburn Valley Hwy.

State Emergency Services personnel arrived the next morning to remove the tree and clear the debris.

‘‘I’m in shock,’’ Ms Coates said as she was assessing the damage on Wednesday morning.

‘‘When I heard the loud bang I was panicking and frightened.

‘‘Only one room that was completely destroyed, but I spent the night at my daughter’s house.

‘‘I’ve lived here for 12 years and it’s been a terrific house to me.

‘‘I’d previously warned the Roads and Maritime Services about those trees on the embankment,’’ she said.

Ms Coates said the home was built in the early 1940s and was once used to house American soldiers during the Second World War.

The damage was just one of many properties affected across the wider Murray Valley region as winds reached gusts of more than 100km/h.

There were also small bursts of rain during the short storms.

Properties in the Koonoomoo and Cobram areas were also hit.

Tocumwal SES unit deputy controller Jinette Graham said Ms Coates’ was the most severely affected home to which her crew was called.

‘‘Unfortunately Ms Coates had to wait until the (next) morning because we were dealing with other jobs.

‘‘Luckily she was safe and escaped with no injury,’’ Ms Graham said.

Tocumwal SES received about 14 calls on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, mostly to deal with fallen trees. There were reports on trees that had fallen on powerlines.

‘‘It was one of our busiest nights of the year,’’ Ms Graham said.

‘‘There was another incident where a tree fell on a shed, but nothing was as badly damaged as Ms Coates’ home.’’

Tocumwal Fire and Rescue also assisted throughout the night by cutting fallen tree branches and clearing roads.

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