October 31, 2012 | Vol. 24 Edition 44

Tree smashes bedroom in Alpine Woods

Cottonwood falls on mobile home after wind gust

Valdez woman Michelle Julien got the scare of a lifetime a week ago Tuesday when an old Cottonwood tree fell onto her mobile home, crushing the bedroom she had left just moments before.

Steve Revis photo
Alpine Woods resident Michelle Julien said the photographs shot shortly after a giant Cottonwood tree fell on her mobile home tell the story of what happened.

Julien, who has lived in the home on Chalet in Alpine Woood for well over 20 years, said she had just prepared to go to work and was running a little earlier than usual. She had just left the bedroom with her 12-year-old dog when she heard the crash.

“It fell, it just broke,” she said, “It just cracked it off.”

The entire back bedroom and part of a wanigan were destroyed.

“I’m thankful I wasn’t in there,” she said, “I was very, very fortunate.”

Julien said she believes the heavy rainfalls combined with a heavy wind gust caused the large, mature tree to fall.

“It was a solid tree,” she said.

Though she said she was running early that day, she did end up being late for her job at the Bottle Stop - by several days.

“I called Robin right away and told her I wouldn’t be to work,” she said.

Fortunately, her sons have been able to help seal off the gaping hole left by the tree and their helping hands have been invaluable in picking up the pieces.

“We already got it framed in and I’m thankful,” she said. “The boys have been on it. Ever since it happened they’ve been cleaning.”

Julien says she was able to salvage much of her clothing and a freezer that was crushed in the wanigan was empty because she’d been preparing to move the large appliance.

“If this had happened in September I could have got relief,” in the form of state aid Julien said, referring to Gov. Sean Parnell’s emergency declaration for weather related damages from September storms.

“This is all par for the course,” she said philosophically.

She has wood heat, a monitor stove and her home was a balmy 76 degrees inside Tuesday morning, while the outside temperature of 32 degrees supported a lightly falling snow. She claimed it was hard to tell her home had been nearly destroyed the week before, despite the lingering evidence outside the door.

“The pictures tell it all,” she said.

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