Robert Ellis Bowers normally leaves for work at 3:20 a.m. each morning. But he was running a little late Wednesday when a massive tree in his neighbor’s yard uprooted and toppled over, narrowly missing his house at 312 Camp St.
“I usually come out that door at that time, but I decided to cook an omelet. That omelet saved my life,” Bowers said with a grin.
The 30- to 40-foot tree smashed part of his chain link fence and crashed onto his truck and his daughter-in-law’s Firenza in the driveway, completely engulfing the two vehicles. Bowers said the noise was indescribable.
“I had turned the washing machine on and all I could think of was the washing machine had blown up,” he said.
Heavy rains washed across Floyd County Tuesday, loosening the soil where the tree was anchored. Bowers said it had been on a slight hill and he could see the root structure — stunted by drought — was wide but not very deep.
His insurance company is expected to send someone to remove the tree today and another crew to repair the fence. The cars are not covered.
“I guess I’m going to have to get some windshields,” he said with a philosophical shrug.
On Wednesday afternoon a group of neighbors came by to survey the damage and marvel at Bowers’ close call.
“I told him he had an angel,” his sister Camille Sumlin said.