Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

My daughter could have been killed by falling tree, says dad

Mark Hamilton  whose car was badly damaged when a tree fell early on Tuesday morning pictured with his daughters Katlin and Shannen outside the family home in Broomhill Avenue in Londonderry's Waterside

As Northern Ireland braces itself for a second day of stormy winds one man has told of his family’s lucky escape when a tree crashed down on his car.

Winds reached 105mph yesterday, bringing down trees and power lines and blocking roads.

In Broomhill Avenue in Londonderry's Waterside a large tree fell across the road into two gardens early yesterday morning, falling on one man's car.

Mark Hamiliton was wakened shortly after 5am by the huge crash which shook his house.

But nothing could have prepared him for the sight of a massive tree engulfing the car he uses to transport his disabled daughter Kaitlin (13).

“I was listening to the wind but all of a sudden there was this huge crash and my alarm actually toppled over,” he said.

“It seemed as if the very foundations of the house shook. When I opened the curtains it was a shock to see the tree in the garden and my car under it.

“My five year old daughter Lauryn sleeps in the front of the house and that tree could just as easily have come in through her window.

“If it had have happened later on during the day when we were in the car some of us could have been killed.

“I am trying hard to think on positive things but right now my daughter is house-bound because she is in a wheelchair and needs the car to get anywhere.

“It was very upsetting for her when she saw the tree and the car under it, but what annoys me is that this isn't the first time a tree has fallen from across the road.

“We have been warning that this big one was going to fall but nothing was done and now it's too late.”

Next door to Mr Hamilton, Sam Douglas (88) and his wife Audrey also had a narrow escape when the tree ploughed through their garden.

Last May, when a tree blew across the road in stormy weather into Mr Douglas' garden, a wall and flowerpots were destroyed.

Roads closed due to fallen trees included the Letterkenny Road, Trench Road and Lowry Lane.

Elsewhere in the city Bishop Street was closed to both traffic and pedestrians after damage was caused to part of the roof of the Masonic Hall.

Lisnagelvin swimming pool was closed by Derry City Council as a result of damage to the roof. A Roads Service spokeswoman said: “Bishop Street has also been closed due to storm damage to roofs and is currently being assessed.”

The Foyle Bridge was closed to all traffic for several hours in early morning yesterday.

Around 2,000 households in the north west were without power for three hours while Power NI engineers carried out emergency repair work.

The areas affected were Eglinton, Campsie, Donnybrewer, Campsie industrial estate and Carnmoney.

A spokesman for the Met Office said Malin in Co Donegal recorded the strongest blasts of wind between 5am and 6am yesterday morning with speeds of 105mph.

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