Friday morning storm sends tree crashing into Ruston home

Photo courtesy of ALEX ZEAGLER

By T. Scott Boatright

Sometimes a span of three seconds can feel like a “mini-lifetime.”

And a life can certainly be changed in only three seconds.

That’s the way Alex Zeagler and his girlfriend felt early suddenly as a strong storm that struck Ruston sent a tree crashing into the house they share on Calcote Street.

“The whole house is leaning at an almost 45 degree angle,” Zeagler said. “Even sitting in here packing up stuff to move out, it feels like I’m in a constant lean.”

Zeagler and his girlfriend had lived in the home for a year and didn’t have renter’s insurance. They have found a new home in West Monroe.

“The base of it came down and hit on the very corner of our bedroom,” Zeagler said. “You could feel the entire impact. We felt it hit, then we felt the stilts fall, and then we felt the tree hit even harder. It was intense — an insane amount of havoc at one time. It was crazy.”

Zeagler said they did have a little warning before the tree came crashing down.

“My girlfriend woke me and told me, ‘Alex, I’m really scared right now. I don’t know what to do,'” Zeagler said. “She said our dog was standing on her just shaking. Not even two seconds later we heard a giant gust of wind, heard a few raindrops and then felt a loud boom. Then we felt and heard the back stilts fall and then felt the tree fall again. That was all in a matter of like, three or four seconds.”

Despite losing much of their possessions, the couple is just happy to be able to walk away from the damage.

“We’re beyond happy to be alive,” Zeagler said. “We know we got lucky. Windows were smashed everywhere and water got into the house. Ceiling tiles fell on us. Our cat was missing for a while but we found him. He had torn himself a hole into the couch. We had to cut the couch open to get him out. It all happened so fast but yet almost in slow-motion, like it wasn’t real. We’re just thankful no one was hurt.”

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