Fast reaction saves couple when tree crashes through their home

DEMING, Wash. -- Each time he looks at the damage to their bedroom, Rick George wants to break down and cry. He and his wife, Lanei, know they could easily have been killed.

"I'm amazed that we lived through it," Rick said.

He believes the only reason they did is because he was able to react quickly enough to roll over and grab his wife as the tree crashed through their roof.

"I'm glad I did what I did," he said. "I don't know what made me do it, but I did it, and I'm here. She's here."

The huge maple tree fell about 4:30 a.m. Saturday, landing on their one-story home.

A branch tore through and stuck into Rick's side of the bed. Boards from the roof broke through and crashed into Lanei's side of the bed. What amounted to giant stakes should have skewered both of them.

"He pulled me like this and pulled me in," Lanei Williams said, showing how Rick rolled onto his side to pull her toward him. "Oh, I would have been smooshed. I would have been smooshed under the roof if he didn't grab me."

And judging by where the branch stuck into the mattress, it would have gone right through Rick if he hadn't moved.

"I'm waiting for the gasp of the puncture and everything. And nothing," he says. "All I know is I had my lady under me. Next thing I know I was trapped."

The couple managed to make their way out of the heavily-damaged room. Two other adults and a 2-year-old granddaughter were sleeping in another part of the home. They were not hurt.

Rick did suffer a nasty gash on his side that required nearly two-dozen staples to repair. Lanei says she got a bump to the head, possibly from the wall, but did not need medical treatment.

Though he says he doesn't know what made him react so quickly, Rick supposes it may have been some kind of Divine intervention. He and Lanei are taking their good fortune as a sign of positive things to come this year.

"This is my woman," he said. "This is my life, my kids. I'm happy."

The severe damage to the home is going to be a hardship for the family. While the house is paid for, they do not have homeowners insurance. And it appears the house may have to be torn down.

"I don't know what to do. I don't know how to feel. I'm still in a lot of shock," Lanei said. "We've lost so many of our belongings. I'm wearing the few clothes the Red Cross was able to give me."

The couple had a renter and four grandchildren living with them. They say they've opened to many people in need over the years, both relatives and friends.

"I know we'll get through somehow," she said. "For now we'll couch-surf until we figure out what's next. And celebrate our family and life."
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