Large limb falls on home

OKEECHOBEE — With wind gusts up to 35 mph Wednesday afternoon, it’s no wonder Terry Baldwin was busy the next day cutting up a large tree limb that had fallen on his Treasure Island mobile home.

“I was on my way home from Tampa when my daughter called and told me a tree had fallen on my house,” recalled Mr. Baldwin Thursday afternoon.

He felt fortunate because his daughter Alyssa, 15, was in the kitchen when the huge limb broke off the old oak tree around 4:45 p.m. and fell onto an addition on the back of their home.

That addition to the back of the home sustained the most damage. The main part of the home appears to have weathered the storm fairly well.

An Okeechobee County Fire/Rescue (OCF/R) report by firefighter/paramedic Jarrod Akins indicated there was some structural damage to the back wall of the mobile home. But, he added, that wall was supporting the added weight of the tree limb.

According to the National Weather Service in Melbourne the area around Mr. Baldwin’s home saw sustained wind speeds of 15 to 20 mph Wednesday.

However, wind gusts in the area reached 35 mph.

Mr. Baldwin, who rents the doublewide mobile home, was being helped Thursday by Lional Mixell, the owner of the home.

“I was planning on cutting the tree down this weekend,” said Mr. Mixell of the rotten oak.

Now, the two men will be busy this weekend trying to lift the large limb off the home without doing any further damage.

“I’ll get a boom truck here Saturday to lift the limb off the roof,” said Mr. Baldwin.

Once that is done, he can then go about making the needed repairs to the home so he and his daughter can return home. Currently, Florida Power and Light has cut off all electrical power to the home. Once the repairs are completed, the power will be restored.

Mr. Baldwin, who is currently staying with a neighbor, anticipates it will take around a month to make the repairs.

The OCF/R report went on to point out that while there was “… extensive internal damage” to a back bedroom, the damage done to the kitchen was described by firefighter Akins as “moderate.”

OCF/R crews, continued the report, cut some of the smaller limbs off the main limb to take some of the weight off the roof.

No one was injured in the incident which, said Mr. Baldwin, was a blessing.
“God works in mysterious ways,” he added.

This large limb broke off the main trunk of an old oak tree during a storm Wednesday afternoon, May 24, and fell onto this mobile home that Terry Baldwin and his daughter, Alyssa, call home. Although Alyssa was in the home at the time, she was not injured. Photo by Eric Kopp.

Eric Kopp is a staff writer for the Okeechobee News

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