On Friday afternoon, a Gaston County man dialed 911 asking for help. A large tree had fallen straight through his home on Scott Drive in Gastonia.
“I have a tree across my leg. A big tree,” the man can be heard saying on the call. “Help me please.”
The man explained to the dispatcher where the tree struck him – across his thigh – and that he was pinned and couldn’t move.
The dispatcher then asked the man if he is in his front or back yard.
“I’m in the house,” the man says.
“You’re in the house?” the dispatcher asks.
The man can then be heard telling worried neighbors that he’s on the phone with 911 already.
After he’s assured that rescue crews are on the way, the man asks the dispatcher to call someone for him.
“I need you to call my wife,” he says, before reassuring more neighbors that he’s “trapped and hurting, but OK.”
WBTV’s Sky 3 was over the scene where the tree, which stretched from the front of the home to rear, had sliced the building completely through to the ground.
The Union Road Fire Chief said he has never seen anything like it.
“The size of the tree, and how it was lodged in the house, and being able to stabilize it was the hardest problem,” Chief Craig Huffstetler said.
Lt. Travis Adams, of Gaston County EMS, said it was an extensive rescue that lasted over an hour and needed about 40 responders.
The victim, who has not been identified, was then loaded into an ambulance which drove a short distance to a medical helicopter that airlifted him to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte. He was released Monday.
Officials have not confirmed what caused the tree to fall.
A neighbor said the man’s wife, who was on her way home when the tree crashed down, talked about the tree as she watched the rescue.
“The wife said they were saving money to have the tree cut down,” Robin Kelley said. “It was an old tree. It was bad. It was probably rotting and they were saving money to have it cut down.”