SANFORD, N.C. (WNCN) — Five members of a family — including two young children — were inside a home in Sanford on Friday when it was hit by a massive tree that fell during a storm.
The incident happened just after 9 a.m. at the home at Alcott and 3rd Streets, officials said.
Victoria Sepulveda, who lives in the house, said five people were inside at the time — including her 6-month-old son and daughter, who is turning 3 this weekend.
Sepulveda managed to get out of the house — and began screaming for help, she said.
“Our backdoor was untouched, our front door was caved in,” she said. “You couldn’t get to the front door. “I managed to get out the back door in literally a tank top and a pair of shorts, and I was screaming ‘my family’s trapped, call 911, please help, please help.'”
Three people trapped inside were later rescued by fire crews.
Sanford Fire Chief Matt Arnold said the ground has been wet recently and that the tree was in a low-lying area, which could have been why it fell.
“If it was gonna happen, it had the best possible outcome, knowing that there were people in the room on the bed where the tree landed, and they were able to walk out with our assistance and removing some items that were on them,” Arnold said. “They’re a very lucky family.”
Sepulveda said the bathroom and one bedroom were the only rooms not destroyed.
“I quickly grabbed whatever baby food I could to feed him for hopefully a couple of days,” she said. “I don’t have anything for my kids, really, my son is in a t-shirt from our neighbor”
She said neighbors jumped in to help and wrapped her children in blankets.
Sepulveda went to the hospital with a headache. She said debris fell from the ceiling and hit her in the head. Another person went to the hospital in an ambulance. Both were later released.
“I’m definitely lucky, and we found both of our cats, too,” she said. “They were hiding under my daughter’s bed.”
Six people live at the home, and the American Red Cross is assisting them. A family member also has set up a GoFundMe page.