Massive oak slams into home, just missing owner

Firefighters with Alachua County Fire Rescue's Station 16 work the scene of a fallen tree on a house in the Eagle Point subdivision.

Doug Finger/Staff photographer
Published: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 at 7:33 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 at 7:33 p.m.

Ernest Jenkins was working on his computer Tuesday afternoon. And then "boom."

A neighbor's oak tree, estimated at 150 feet tall, crashed onto Jenkins' roof.

"It was kind of a big scare," Jenkins said. "This humongous tree fell and the roof came down -- mostly insulation and wall board. I just fell out of the chair. It's a good thing, because the fan was about two feet from my head. It's a good thing it didn't come down, too."

Jenkins said he had a few bruises but nothing serious. He lives in the Eagle Point subdivision in northwest Gainesville and the tree that fell on his house was one of several that fell across roads or property in Alachua County on a rainy Tuesday.

"That was the only reported damage that I know of," said Alachua County sheriff's spokesman Art Forgey. "Earlier, we had three trees -- a couple of them across secondary roads and one across State Road 26 (Newberry Road) on the Alachua County line."

It is not uncommon for oaks to uproot with the kind of heavy rain that has been deluging the area the past few days, leaving the ground soft and unstable. Trees can also topple -- or branches fall -- in heavy wind.

"I didn't hear a thing until it hit the house," Jenkins said. "At first I thought it was a thunderclap, it was so loud. They said it wasn't from lightning -- just that the ground was so saturated."

Tree cutters at Jenkins home got the branches off the roof Tuesday evening and will return for the rest of the job Wednesday, he said.

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