Local company removes huge oak tree from house for free

MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – Two Mobile women are thankful to be alive after a huge oak tree fell on their home last week. Now they’re facing a major challenge of starting over with nothing.

However, the generosity of one local businessman gives them hope.

It will take a couple of days to remove the oak tree from what’s left of the house on Moffett Court. Rankin Barnes, who owns Tree King which is based in Satsuma, volunteered his company to do the job for free for Brenda Harvey, whom he’d never met.

“Something kept telling me to come by here and look at it, and I did and she just needs some help,” Barnes said.

Harvey and her cousin will need a lot more help to get back on the feet after the disaster. The women were in a back bedroom Tuesday afternoon, July 22 when the 300-year-old oak tree fell into the house.

“Then I heard a boom, then I said, ‘Cover your head and roll on the floor, cover your head and roll on the floor.’ All of a sudden, boom, boom, boom, done, all over,” Harvey said.

The women and their small dog somehow managed to escape serious injury.

“I just can’t believe it. I can’t believe it. I can’t believe we’re out of there alive. I can’t believe we got out of there alive,” Patty Atwood said.

Atwood didn’t know if, or how, they would get out of the house.

“I just heard a crash, and when I looked up I saw it coming down. I’ll never forget that. I’ll never forget it. I just knew we were gone,” she said.

When Barnes saw the extent of the damage, he was surprised they got out as well.

“Every room in the house had a huge limb, I’m talking all the way to the floor except one, and that was where they were,” Barnes said.

Harvey said she wanted to cut the tree back a few years ago, but she was told by the city she couldn’t.

“It’s historic, right. Well, they got to be cut to protect people from losing everything. It’s historic, yeah, now I’ve got the history of my life gone. I have nothing. I have no vehicles, I have no home,” she said.

Harvey said she’s grateful to the business owner and others who have come to her aide. Barnes said he too is thankful for others including Hertz which donated a crane to help do the job. Barnes said the crane will mean the job will get down at least a day sooner.

The house was not insured. Harvey said another family member has set up an account for her through gofundme.com. If you’d like to help the family we’ve provided a link for you here.

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