Natalie Carter will celebrate her birthday on Tuesday, May 12th. It’s one she is extremely grateful for after she found herself trapped in her home Monday, when a tree split her Rayne home in half.
“I ran out when I heard what I though was lightening. When I came out, everything came crashing down on me and I was pinned.”
Her neighbor, Christopher Carter explained, “Me and my friends, Jason McClellan were at my house drinking a cup of coffee, and we heard a loud crash. We came outside and we saw that a tree had feel on our neighbor Natalie’s house, and we immediately came over to assist her. She’s been friends with Jason all her life. They grew up together, and she mentioned to him, ‘please don’t let me die’, and for some reason that just triggered him to make sure he got her out that house.”
The small statured McClellan removed the debris that trapped his friend. Meanwhile, Natalie’s 16-year-old son sat trapped in him room, just a few feet away from his mother.
Natalie said her son, “Had to break the door down, just to get out of there.”
In New Iberia, almost an hour away, her husband Kenneth received a terrifying phone call.
“One of my guy friends, he’s also from Rayne and he’s a firefighter. He had just got a call of a woman stuck in a house. Come to find out it’s my wife stuck in our house,” he said.
Natalie walked away with a limp, but her family home is ruined. The responsibility of moving the tree falls on the family’s shoulders. The city would have agreed to move the tree if it had blocked any power lines before splitting.
The newly married woman sat on the porch of her destroyed home and shook her head as she said, “You’re taught in school how to prepare for tornadoes, for hurricanes, evacuations and stuff like that but in a split second when things happen like that, I froze. You can never say what you are going to do in a situation like that until it actually happens.”
Natalie froze but thanks to a near miss from an ancient oak and the swift action of a friend and neighbor, she will celebrate another birthday. The family will stay at a hotel until they can raise enough money to remove the tree and renovate the home. The Carters’ mentioned they only have fire insurance and are unsure of how long they will be displaced.