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Storm victim describes finding daughter under debris (with video)

Troy Douglas woke up shortly after 1 a.m. to the sound of a tree crashing through his ceiling and his 11-year-old daughter screaming.

“We got wind, rain, sheetrock, insulation blowing everywhere,” said Douglas, who lives at the end of Pritchard Street. “I went to check on my kids. I hear my daughter screaming.”

His house was one of 31 in the city damaged by an overnight storm.

He ran to Aubree’s room to find her in the top bunk covered with parts of the ceiling and wet insulation. “There was debris on top of her from where the roof caved in,” he said.

A tree had crashed through the roof and limbs were visible through the busted sheetrock and layers of pink insulation.

His 13-year-old son Mikyle, who sleeps in his own room down the hall, was fine. “It’s just overwhelming,” he said.

Douglas took his wife and kids to stay with family in Enterprise overnight.

His wife took Aubree to the doctor Thursday and she seems to be OK except for slight bruising on her stomach, he said.

Douglas said he will stay with family until his home can be repaired. Neighbors were coming by to check on him. Brookhaven City Clerk Mike Jinks brought him a portable cell phone battery charger.

“This community rolls their sleeves up to help anybody,” he said.

South Jackson Street home dodges bullet 

Dan Campbell called someone last week about removing two dangerous limbs from the 200-year-old oak tree in the front yard of his South Jackson Street home. Ironically, those were not the limbs that barely missed his house after a severe storm swept through the area.

Campbell woke around 12:30 to what he thought was hail crashing around his house, which sits at the corner of South Jackson Street and Natchez Avenue. He said it sounded like loud machine gun fire.

He rushed out to find out what it was and through flashes of lightning saw part of the oak down in his yard and across the carriage house next to his house that he uses as a car port and workshop.

“We were very blessed it did not come through the house,” he said.

He figured he’d wait until morning to survey the actual damage. His stepdaughter, 9-year-old Ainsley Cox had been sleeping downstairs instead of upstairs in her room, but she crawled into bed with him and her mom, Suzanne, to get some sleep.

Campbell said he tried to sleep but kept waiting to hear more crashes. Fortunately, they never came.

The limbs he’d called about made it through the storm. “There’s no where for them to fall but on the house,” he said.

The limbs that did fall will cause the tree to die, so he’ll have it removed completely. The largest limb, which had power lines tangled in the branches, blocked one lane of Natchez Avenue Thursday morning.

Tree hits East Congress Street home

Irene Perkins Banks was awake when a large tree hit the front of her porch and living room during the storm early Thursday morning.

“It sounded like the whole house was crashing in. It scared me so bad the I said ‘Lord Jesus help me,’” Banks said.

Banks’ home, on 317 East Congress Street, received the worst damage on the street from trees falling. She said all of the damage was on her front porch and rain was coming in during the storm.

“I just thank God I was awake,” she said. “Normally I’m asleep, but God showed favor on me and my grandson, Diante Spiller.”

The tree is on her roof, but did not crash through her ceiling.

“I called my insurance company and they told me to get someone to saw those trees down off the roof as soon as possible,” she said. “Our lights are out and I don’t know when they’ll be back on.”