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Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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By gum, that was a close call

 

Andrew Whiteford was in his upstairs office when a giant gum tree fell on the house. PHOTO/MARY ARGUE

MARY ARGUE
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It’s rare that disaster arrives at the precise moment it’s hypothesised.

Almost as if it called into existence yesterday, Andrew Whiteford said a giant gum tree fell into the room he was sitting in just as he was describing the swaying trees to colleagues.

“I was talking to them about how crazy the wind was here.”

He said while discussing the ferocious wind and the number of downed trees on the property, two mature eucalyptus were uprooted, crashing into the house and crushing a car and garage on the way down.

Branches slammed into the roof and came to a rest outside the upstairs office window.

Stunned, Whiteford said he went outside to survey the damage.

“It could have been a whole lot worse. I was right there.”

He said in his 10 years at the Dakins Rd property he had “never seen wind like it”.

He suspected the sodden ground coupled with wind gusts, at up to 130kmh, was a perfect storm.

“Although, you would think a giant tap root would have held them up.”

Whiteford said workers at a neighbouring vineyard also had a lucky escape, deciding to pack up for the day just as multiple mature trees toppled into the vines. “No one was hurt. It’s just amazing.”

He said the branches embedded in his roof were currently keeping the iron down.

“It’s lucky it’s still pretty air-tight. The garage is crushed, though.”

Whiteford said he was very well supported with neighbours coming around to help clear trees that had landed on the driveway and he was expecting an arborist to assess the site later that day.

“The silver lining is that I have firewood for the rest of my life.”

Along Dakins Rd, at least five trees had been uprooted, a mere sample of multiple reports of downed trees across the region yesterday.

Masterton Fire Brigade duty officer Doug Flowerday said the crew had been busy with multiple weather-related call-outs.

“We’ve been absolutely flat-out for three to four hours now.

“There have been some quite bad incidents with the weather.”

Masterton Fire Brigade responded to a flying trampoline in Kuripuni, a shed crashing into a house, downed powerlines, and numerous fallen trees.

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