A large tree toppled over Thursday, ripping through a Buncombe County mobile home, landing within inches of a sleeping baby, officials told CNN affiliate WLOS.
“I was out and about when my daughter gave me a call, a frantic call,” Greg Bland, owner of the mobile home off Smokey Park Highway in Candler, said. “So, I’m hauling quickly to get back home.”
Bland’s daughter was inside, watching a movie on one side of the mobile home, her baby taking a nap on the other in a bedroom.
“The tree broke, because the base of the tree was rotted, rotted internally, and just snapped like a matchstick, landed on the house, barely missed our granddaughter,” Bland said.
According to Bland, the tree landed about 18 inches away from the baby.
“It’s just horrible to think about, if it just went a little bit to the left,” Bland said.
Before the dust even settled, Bland said, his neighbors sprang into action.
“Clamored up on the tree, got in there, removed some debris, and got her out unscathed,” Bland said. “But, the simple truth is it could’ve been a lot worse than that.”
Bland had a message for his fast-acting neighbors.
“I thank you very much for the heroics, for risking your life getting in there to get my grandchild out of there, and get her out of harm’s way,” Bland said.
Bland’s home was not as lucky, he brought News 13 into his living room to get a look down the hall at all the destruction.
He lost two bedrooms and a bathroom — about a third of his home.
Outside, utility crews were working and the tree was still on top of the mobile home. It was a constant reminder of how close Bland’s family came to tragedy.
“Materials can be replaced; people can’t,” Bland said. “My family’s here, so, one way or the other, we’ll persevere and carry on.”
The Red Cross arrived on scene and offered any assistance to Bland and his family.