A mother-of-two thought she had been struck by lightning when a falling tree crushed her home of 25 years.
Pam Gensel was cooking dinner as strong winds ripped a 40ft tree out of her front yard and it smashed through the roof of the three-bedroom bungalow.
The computer programmer, 58, her husband Tom, 55, also a computer programmer, and their two sons Jeremy, 22, and Riley, 17, watched in horror as the tree destroyed half their family home.
She said: “It was a very loud bang.
“I thought we had been struck with lightning and my husband said it was like a thousand picture frames cracking.
“I had just turned on the oven to make pizzas, Riley was watching television and Tom and Jeremy were on their computers when it happened.
“I looked down the hall and there was just dust everywhere.”
The incident happened as Ohio, USA, was battered by winds of up to 65mph on Sunday evening.
The tree smashed through the roof of their home in Akron – where a few hours later the family would have been sleeping in their beds.
She said: “Later on in the evening, we would be in the bedrooms, but thank goodness we weren’t at that time.
“My first thoughts were making sure everybody was safe, my husband, my sons and my dog Tori and our cats Romi, Marble, and Shadow.”
The family rushed out and were astonished to see a tree lying across their home.
“We couldn’t open the doors to the bedroom and so we went outside to see what it was,” she said.
“The size of the tree was astonishing.
“It grew 5ft away from the house and had been there forever.”
The family called the fire department and their neighbours rushed out to help.
Pam said: “The fire department arrived quickly and they were absolutely wonderful.
“They told us that we needed to turn off the electricity and the water.
“The tree was on the electric line coming into the house so it wasn’t safe for us to stay there.
“My neighbours flocked around and offered us shelter, prayer and support.”
The family has been staying with a neighbour and will not be able to return to their home for at least three months.
“We have no idea how long it is going to take,” said Pam.
“It looks like it will be between three and six months.
“We have insurance but they haven’t been out yet to assess the damage.
“We don’t know how much it will cost.
“We haven’t been able to get into the house for our stuff.
“Poor Riley lost all his clothes, all you see if the roof on the floor of his room.”
She added that it upset her to see her home of 25 years in its derelict state.
She said: “It is awful.
“They have the tree out now and the house is boarded up.”
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