AS most of the South West was cleaning-up from the two storms that tore through the region last week, a Busselton family was one of those still dealing with power, water, and gas outages, after a very close call during the storm last Sunday that brought a giant peppermint tree down on their house.
Busselton resident Helen Crain had just put her head down for a ‘nanna-nap’ last Sunday at around 2pm when she heard a loud noise, and saw what she thought was a tree branch covering her window.
“I just thought a branch had come down, so I wasn’t really worried at the time,” Helen said.
“Then I got up and realised I’d made the biggest understatement of the year!”
The large peppermint tree at the front of the house was blown by the strong winds, crashing over the front of the house and taking the awnings with it.
With such wide-reaching limbs, the tree landed on the front bedroom, front door, living room, and over Helen’s daughter’s car, taking out the phone lines and coming dangerously close to the power lines.
The weight of the tree on the remaining roots, added to the strong winds, caused the tree to sink further on to the house and car.
“There was about a two centimetre clearance over the car,” Helen said.
“If I hadn’t moved the car straight away, it would have been stuck there.”
The SES came to assess the situation on Sunday evening, but left power on until Western Power had attended.
On Monday the family lost power, with the major clean-up occurring after the Tuesday storm.
Power was returned to the house on Friday.
“You’ve got to look at the silver lining,” Helen said.
“We’ve been meaning to clean up the front yard and defrost the fridge, and we’ve always wanted to live in a tree house!
“It’s easier to laugh than to curl up in a corner.”
Helen and her daughter, Steph, have nothing but praise for the SES, Western Power, and the house owner, Ted Callow, who has done the majority of the clean-up in the front yard.
“All the support has been wonderful,” Helen said.
“From our friends, and even strangers – one lady I had just met offered us a bed in her home.”
Helen and Steph remain positive, seeing the damage from the storm as insignificant compared to other tragedies in life.
“It makes you realise that other things are more important,” Steph said.
“We were definitely some of the lucky ones.”