GASTON COUNTY, NC (WBTV) – At least one person was injured Friday when a large tree, which appeared to be rotten, fell straight through a Gaston County home.
The incident happened around 4:30 p.m. at a home on Scott Drive in Gastonia.
Gaston County EMS said, “911 was contacted by the patient after a large tree fell through his home and landed on his waist and legs, causing life threatening injuries.”
WBTV’s Sky 3 was over the scene and saw the tree, which stretched from the front of the home to rear, slicing the building completely through to the ground.
“It was like an explosive boom – like something exploded – a lawn mower or something,” neighbor Terry Jolly said. “But it was the tree falling on the house.”
“It looked awful,” neighbor Robin Kelley said. “It’s like a small mobile home and it looked like a saw – the tree like a saw went right down the middle of the house.”
The Union Road Fire Chief said he has never seen anything like it.
“The size of the tree, and how it was lodged in the house, and being able to stabilize it was the hardest problem” Chief Craig Huffstetler said.
Lt. Travis Adams, of Gaston County EMS, said it was an extensive rescue that lasted well over an hour and needed about 40 responders to complete. He said the rescue “involved power tools and other rescue machinery to try and stabilize that to make sure he was not injured in the process.”
Finally, crews got to the man.
“The rescue resulted from stabilizing his residence and then subsequently removing the tree piece by piece.”
The victim, who has not been identified, was then loaded into an ambulance which drove a short distance to a medical helicopter. The person was then airlifted from the CMC-Main in Charlotte.
Officials have not confirmed what caused the tree to fall.
A neighbor said the victim’s wife, who was on her way home when the tree crashed down, talked about the tree as she watched the rescue.
“The wife said they were saving money to have the tree cut down,” Robin Kelley said. “It was an old tree. It was bad. It was probably rotting and they were saving money to have it cut down.”