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Unwelcome tree-house

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November 12, 2002

Pelham -- A family woke up just in time Tuesday morning before a gigantic oak tree came crashing down on their bed. They say lighting didn't strike it, but too much rain softened the ground, and it tilted over.

No one was injured, but now they have a major mess to clean up.

17-year-old Katrine Templeman of Pelham is pruning a tree-- inside her bedroom. Heavy rains, lightning and a falling Red Oak tree woke up the entire household. "My mom came in the middle of the night," she said. "We were really scared cause tree is right there. She was afraid it's gonna crash through the window."

Maybe it was a motherly instinct, but like many teenagers, Katrine refused to get out of bed-- until she heard another frightening sound. "You just heard it going, so we started to run."

Katrine's mother, Michele, was sleeping with her daughter because of the storm. She barely escaped a very large branch. "My mom's head was right here," Katrine said. The tree also came crashing down on a gas line, leaking natural gas, a potentially dangerous situation.

The Templeman family evacuated and grabbed their 72 hour survival kits, just in case of an emergency. "Our neighbors house burnt down. We were shaken up and decided to get these things in case it happens to us," said Katrine.

The big red oak tree left behind a crumbled attic, crushed roof and a neighbors mini van hanging off pavement, but the Templeman family of four never had to use their first aid kit.

The Templeman family says their neighborhood on Primitive Avenue was evacuated temporarily because of the gas leak.

posted at 6:25PM by dave.miller@walb.com