PINE BLUFF, Ark — A Pine Bluff mother and her family — truly counting their blessings — after a large tree came crashing down on top of their home.
Michelle Riley can barely stand looking at her Pine Bluff home.
“It’s still a little frightening in my my mind,” said Riley. “I’m still a little hysterical, but I’m still processing all that has happened.”
She was resting on her couch, around 10:00 Sunday morning, when she saw her roof start to cave in.
“I was wondering what going on,” said Riley.
Strong winds had knocked a large tree in the backyard onto her home.
She could hear the home giving way to the pressure of the nearly ten thousand pound tree.
“Steady cracking and crumbling … cracking and crumbling,” said Riley.
Before long, the tree had split the home in two, pitting her one side of the home and trapping her son, daughter and 3-month-old grandson in two rooms on the other side.
“I heard my daughter hollering ‘Momma!’ and I was calling out to my son and he wasn’t answering and I started smelling gas,” said Riley. “So, I panicked and I was hollering for help.”
She said a neighbor heard her screams, ran over and broke out a window and pulled her kids and grandson to safety.
“It was perfect timing, because I had panicked,” said Riley. “I didn’t know what to do or what to make of it.”
She called her husband, Michael Goolsby, who rushed to her side.
“I looked there and I was saying God,” said Goolsby.
He looked over the clothes and other things inside the home destroyed by the tree and the two family cars in the driveway, stuck underneath branches with one thought.
“It’s by the grace of God,” said Goolsby.
He and Riley are thankful a house they’ve called home for two years is the only thing gone and not their family’s lives.
“It’s still unbelievable to me,” said Riley.
The house and cars were insured, but the money won’t pay for all she’s lost.
She plans to sit in front of the home, located on the 35-hundred block of Violet, Thursday and Friday to raise funds for other items the family lost.