Man uninjured after tree decimates home

Published 9:01 pm Thursday, May 4, 2017

When Jim Jefferson woke up in a daze in his front yard Thursday morning, he had no idea what had just hit him.

A massive water oak tree came crashing down through his McDaniel Drive home, splitting it in two and knocking him several feet away out of the chair he was sitting in on his front porch.

“I don’t remember no noise or nothing,” he said just a few hours after it happened. “My cat acted funny and took off, and that’s the last thing I remember until I come to laying there in front of the deck.”

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With the exception of a little rain and some wind, Jefferson said his morning started out just like any other – with a pot of coffee.

“I slept on the couch last night. I woke up, got up and made my coffee and went out [on the porch] to start my day,” he recalled.

As he walked around the front of what’s left of his home, he described the scene.

“That’s that chair I was sitting in, and my cat was in that one. I was sitting right there, and I woke up down there. It knocked me out of my flip flops,” he recalled.

“It mashed the chairs up. The one the cat was in is flat. The one I was in is pretty bucked, so it must have kind of squeezed me out. It’s just luck.”

Jefferson managed to escape the devastation with just a few cuts and bruises, and his three cats were able to get away in time too. His living room wasn’t as lucky. The tree crashed down right in the middle of it, crushing the couch he was sleeping on but leaving his television still playing one of his favorite rock and roll stations.

“I’m just glad that I had it on a decent radio station since I can’t get to it to change it,” he said with a smile.

The tree literally cut his home in two. On one end was his kitchen and bedroom. On the other was a guest bedroom and bathroom and the television that he couldn’t get to.

As he pointed out where he was sleeping on the couch just minutes before the tree came crashing down, the Rolling Stones’ “You Better Move On” was heard playing on his untouched television.

“That would have squished my head flat and probably all of me down to my knees,” he said as he looked at where the tree landed. “I’d be flat. I probably would have never felt it.”

Jefferson estimated the tree to be around 100 feet long. He said he walked it off himself, and it was only a good 30 to 40 feet from touching the road.

While his home is now split in half, there was only one thing on his mind.

“I’m thinking about how lucky I am, and I’m sure glad to be here,” he said. “I’ve lived a pretty reckless life, but I’ve always believed in Jesus. There’s a reason for me being here.”

Jefferson said an ambulance and the Red Cross came to his aid Thursday morning, as well as his neighbors.