Don’t tell the Jodway family that Saturday’s windstorm wasn’t as big as predicted.
That’s because the 125-foot Douglas fir that flattened their rental house in Thurston County over the weekend was finally removed Tuesday. Two crews, including a large crane, were called on to chop up the tree and remove it in chunks from the roof.
Snell Crane Service removed the tree.
Double D Tree service owner David Drewry and his crew were on scene early Tuesday, cutting off branches and limbs to facilitate removal. He noticed the trunk of the tree was rotted, likely making it the “straw that broke the camel’s back.” The winds picked up Saturday and the towering fir toppled onto the house on the corner of Berger Drive Southeast and 51st Avenue Southeast.
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The house appeared to be a total loss.
He said property owners who have large trees near their residences should have them periodically checked for rot, because trees, including the fir that fell, can look perfectly healthy from the outside.
The other way to ensure 100 percent safety from falling trees is to have them removed, Drewry said.
Meanwhile, longtime renter Dale Jodway returned to the property and walked through the house Tuesday, perhaps for the last time. About 5 p.m. Saturday, he, his wife and a family friend were watching TV in a room next to the kitchen when the wind picked up like it was being funneled through a tunnel, he said. Then the tree crashed through the house like a freight train, Jodway said.
“It just exploded,” he said. No one was injured, including a cat and dog, but the tree tore through the bedroom, the living room and garage, damaging a vehicle. The force of the crash was so strong a tree branch poked its way through the wall of the house.
“We’re blessed to be alive,” Jodway said, adding they have received plenty of support after the storm.
Neighbors came pouring out of their houses to help and they have received free meals from local restaurants.
One even paid their phone bill.
A woman offered a rent-free residence on Yelm Highway “until we can get it all together,” he said.
Still, the Jodways leave behind a lot of good memories. He and his wife, Vanessa, raised three daughters in the house and it was often a destination for all of their friends.
But there is good news, too, he said. His wife recently became a nurse and has gone to work at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma.
“You have to stay positive,” he said.
A Go Fund Me page has been started by daughter Sarah Jodway.