A massive tree sliced a North Carolina mountain home in half, trapping a 6-year-old boy for 90 minutes, police in the town of Black Mountain said.
First responders crawled beneath the tree to stay with the boy until other rescuers found a way to get him out. Police identified the boy in Facebook posts as Johnny Taylor.
“Their bravery, dedication and willingness to forget their own safety to ensure the safety of this young man is commendable!” Black Mountain police posted on the department’s Facebook page, referring to police Sgt. Nickey Guffey and firefighters Austin Edwards and Ray Buchanan. “We are fortunate to have professionals like these folks working for our Town!”
Black Mountain is a town of about 7,800 people in Buncombe County off Interstate 40, 16 miles east of Asheville.
The tree crashed into the home at about 4 p.m. Wednesday, “splitting it right down the middle,” Asheville ABC affiliate WLOS reported.
Neighbor Sally Biggers told the station that when she touched the boy’s foot “to see if it was warm and feel for a pulse, he moved.”
“Multiple first responders” arrived at the home on College Street to free the boy, Fox Carolina reported.
The Black Mountain police sergeant and two Black Mountain firefighters “crawled into the home and under the tree and kept Johnny company for an hour and a half until he was able to be freed from the tree,” Black Mountain police posted on Facebook.
Johnny was unhurt, as was his father, who walked out of the home also unscathed, police said. Efforts to obtain comments from the boys’ parents Saturday by The Charlotte Observer were unsuccessful.
Other emergency workers finally were able “to move the mobile home flooring enough to slide him out from under the tree,” Black Mountain Deputy Fire Chief John Wilson told WLOS.
On Friday, Johnny received gifts at the police department, “after a lot of his toys and clothes were destroyed by the tree,” according to one of two Black Mountain Police Department posts about the incident.
“Johnny is one lucky young man!” police posted. “Thank you to everyone who donated and helped make this young mansday!”