Strong storm sends tree through family's home


Reporter - Kendall Downing

ALTO PASS, Ill. - Several local homeowners spent the day cleaning up after a line of strong storms moved through the area Wednesday night.

The village of Alto Pass in Union County, Illinois got hit hard just before 8 p.m. Wind blew trees onto a number of houses and knocked out power for a short time.

A family there said they survived a close call. That's because a huge tree came crashing down right where their toddler sleeps.

At the corner of Poplar and Pine, a pecan tree decided to make an appearance.

"We heard a big bang, and my husband was like get our son," said Tiffany Wilson.

Wilson grabbed her 19-month old Ethan and hid under a table. The family was eating in the kitchen at the time.

Her husband ran outside and found the massive tree resting on the side of their home.

"It started raining in our house, water leaking through," said Wilson.

Pictures show where the branches crashed into their son's room, right above his crib. Debris landed on Ethan's baby bed.  A couple hours later, and he would've been sleeping there.

"If he would've been in there and not in the living room with us, he could've been hurt," said Wilson.

The Wilsons weren't the only ones with damage.

Trees fell onto a couple of other houses in the village, and limbs flew everywhere, some into the former mayor's pool.

"I think everybody was just in shock. It was so sudden and happened so fast," said former mayor Don Rehmer.

Witnesses described a quick gust of wind, lasting about sixty seconds.

Tiffany Wilson said she won't forget that night.

"You never know what can happen, even with a severe thunderstorm," she said.

She's grateful the outcome wasn't worse, for little Ethan.

"I just thank God that he was in the living room with us at the time and not in his room," she said.

Crews will try to get the tree off the house in the coming days.

The family hired a contractor from St.Louis to come inspect the structural integrity of the home.

Most of the power has now been restored to all customers in Alto Pass.