‘I thought I was going to die’: Richmond woman’s brush with disaster

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – A woman on Richmond’s northside says she is grateful to be alive after a brush with disaster at her Bellevue Avenue home during Thursday’s violent storms.

“I thought I was going to die,” Joy Payne told 8News. “It was that scary.”

Payne was downstairs letting her dog outside when the storm tore through her neighborhood around 9:45pm. She felt a strong wind, causing her to quickly pull her dog inside and take cover in her basement.

“(There was) this horrendous noise, a roaring of wind,” she said, describing the storm’s arrival at her house. In that moment, the conditions intensified.

“The house started moving, and then there was a big crash,” said Payne. “I thought the roof had been blown off or something.”

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A massive tree broke through the roof of an upstairs bedroom, demolishing the joist of the attic and sending water gushing into the house. Payne’s own bedroom is just feet from where the tree struck.

“It’s just unbelievable,” she said.

The destruction turned Payne’s property into a disaster zone. As she counts the things she lost in an instant, she’s also counting her blessings.

“I just felt very grateful, and it puts stuff in perspective,” she said of the catastrophe.

Payne is staying with her adult son as repairs on her house get underway.

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In addition to the destruction this storm brought with it, many homes remained without power on Friday night.

Dominion Virginia power said it expects to restore most Richmond-area customers by late Sunday.

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