‘I was trapped’: Hanover family calls surviving tree collapse a “Christmas miracle”

Hanover County

HANOVER COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A Hanover family of four is shocked to be alive after surviving a massive tree collapsing into their home Saturday morning. A ten-day-old baby boy was one of the four family members trapped inside the home.

Hanover Fire-EMS were called to the 11300 block of Doswell Drive around 8:30 a.m. The family was rescued after being trapped for about 45 minutes, according to Jean George, who was in the home

George and her sister-in-law Susan Samuel tell 8News it’s a “Christmas miracle” they escaped with just a few cuts and bruises. 

“I just can’t believe it happened. I knew the big tree was out there but there was no wind, no rain,” George said.

According to the family, they heard a loud thump and didn’t know what it was at first. 

“Nobody was moving,” George said. “‘Cause they were scared if they did move, the house would come tumbling down on us.”

George said the family members were able to communicate back and forth while waiting for authorities to arrive.

“Ashley was screaming with the baby, ‘Mama come get it,’ but I couldn’t. I was trapped,” she said.

It was a close call for the baby boy, according to the family. Samuel told 8News that her niece used her body to “cradle” and protect her newborn when the tree fell onto their home. 

“If he had been in his crib, we wouldn’t have him,” Samuel said.

Their dog was also rescued while two cats are still missing. The family said they think the cats could still be trapped in the house. The house has been condemned and Samuel advises everyone to stay away behind the caution tape.

The home has been in the family for more than a century. George said they didn’t have home-owners insurance and need help. 

The family members are staying with relates as they figure out what to do next. George said once the tree is removed, they plan to collect anything salvageable, tear the house down, and put a trailer in its place.

“Thank God we’re all okay, but now I’m just worried about finding a place to live,” George told 8News.

If you would like to help the family, call the Red Cross at 804-780-2250. 

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