‘I thought I was dead’: Uprooted tree falls on Paintsville home

Published: Sep. 3, 2020 at 7:52 PM EDT
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PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - When Hilorie Branham heard a snap behind her house Wednesday, she was terrified, but not surprised.

“I thought I was dead. I heard the tree snap and I was like, ’This is it,’” said Branham. “I knew that it had to be a tree falling because I was expecting it. Not this soon, but I was expecting it.”

The trees behind her home have been a source of concern since a construction project next door began a few months ago.

“The city had started a project to alleviate some of the water that was coming off of the back of the hill,” Branham said. “You could see that the trees were literally sitting on the side of the new road that they had made. And that you could see the roots. And we were just petrified that, you know, they were going to up-root. And here we are today with an uprooted tree.”

Paintsville Mayor Bill Mike Runyon said the exact cause of the trees falling has yet to be determined, but the city is working with the construction company to investigate the incident. Branham said she feels blessed to be okay.

“I’m most thankful that my son was not here,” she said.

But now she is worried and planning for the days to come.

“It would be hard to say that I want to lose my home. Because this is my home and I love it here,” said Branham. “And not have to go to bed wondering oh, is there going to be a tree fall on my house tonight? Am I gonna have a rockslide? Is the hill slide just gonna take me off the mountain? Like, I just want everybody to be safe.”

She said she hopes for a solution that will keep everyone safe, including the neighbors who are likely to be impacted by the same issues.

“I’m not sleeping much, not eating much, really nervous ’cause I’m expecting that to happen again,” she said. “But I’m just praying to God that it doesn’t happen.”

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