Family displaced after fallen tree destroys home and vehicles


BUCKHANNON — A local family was displaced Tuesday night after a massive tree fell on their home, camper and vehicles. 

Janella and Randy Cochran’s home on Spruce Fork Road sustained severe damage when a huge oak tree with an estimated diameter of 6 feet broke and fell on their house.  Mrs. Cochran said her husband and brother, Kirk Hoover were in the front room at the time of impact, but they were thankfully uninjured.

She reported that they were actually in the process of remodeling a bedroom, when the tree fell just as they were getting ready to step out to cut more wood for the project.  Mrs. Cochran stated, “My husband said it sounded like a cannon went off, and then they looked up and he said it sounded like a train was coming through our house.” 

She explained how the situation could have potentially been fatal if things had gone differently.  “My husband actually tried to push my brother out the door because they were standing there. My brother balked up and didn’t let him, and it was a good thing because the tree jerked the power lines right off our house within 5 feet of where they were standing – live power lines were just flying around,” Mrs. Cochran described.

They speculate that the tree fell as a result of recent storms and high winds because it was still living with leaves present every year.  She continued, “I was scared to death that it was gonna catch on fire with tree limbs everywhere and the power lines flying around.” Mrs. Cochran described “fire balls” and said the power company was able to shut the electric off just before the fire reached the transformer.

Fortunately, the family has insurance to cover the damage to their home, camper and vehicles. Their family of five and two dogs will be staying at the Holiday Inn in Weston indefinitely, as it is not safe to stay in their home.

The Cochran’s estimate that one-fourth of the home was destroyed, and an engineer inspector will determine if the foundation was affected.  Mrs. Cochran is hopeful it can be repaired and stated, “This house means a lot to me – it was my great-grandparent’s home.”

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