Florence unleashes her deadly fury
Mother, baby among dead as tree crashes onto house
WILMINGTON: Hurricane Florence is being blamed for taking several lives in North Carolina, including that of a woman and her infant child, who were killed when a massive tree crashed through their modest brick home.
A man electrocuted while plugging in a generator during heavy rain, and another knocked down by wind were among other casualties reported from the monster storm lashing the state’s southeast.
Special equipment was called in by rescuers battling whipping winds and pelting rain to extricate the mother and child from beneath the massive tree in Wilmington. Fire Chief Steve Mason said the pair died at the scene.
“The size of the tree is not something you could simply cut with a chainsaw and remove,” he said. “It required a tremendous amount of heavy lifting, airbags and saws.”
Neighbour Adam Sparks said emergency responders arrived at the house across the street about the time his power went out and the storm was intensifying.
“It went from zero to 100 real quick,” he said. “Really all you could do is stay inside and hope for the best.”
At first Mr Sparks thought the firefighters were there to help restore electricity, but when he saw police and paramedics arrive, he knew it was something much more tragic.
He said he didn’t know the family well but that the couple had multiple young children.
“It was very sad, very tragic ... I couldn’t even imagine,” he said.
In Kinston, more than an hour’s drive inland from the coast, Lenoir County spokesman Bryan Hanks said a man was electrocuted while trying to connect extension cords outside in the rain.
The body of the 78-year- old was found by family members on Friday morning.
Governor Roy Cooper’s office said the man died while plugging in a generator.
Mr Hanks said a fourth person died while checking on his hunting dogs. Authorities believe he was blown over by the wind.
Emergency officials yesterday warned residents that the peril had probably not passed, as the storm continued to dump torrential rain.
BATTERED: (Clockwise from main) the tree that killed a mother and her baby; volunteers rescue residents and pets; a house in peril.