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Liz Kimbrough and her family were enjoying a quiet evening at home Wednesday night with a cozy fire in the grate when pandemonium suddenly broke loose.
“I was standing in the kitchen, and all of a sudden I heard a great big 'whump!' and the house shook, and I thought a tornado had hit,” Jack Kimbrough said. “I took off for the basement, and Liz was right behind me.”
But what they heard was not a tornado.
A 75-foot pine tree was no longer standing in the front yard of the couple's residence on U.S. 60 just west of Shelbyville—it was lying on top of it.
The wind, with gusts of 73 miles per hour as reported by the National Weather Service, had torn the tree out of the ground by its immense roots. Its entire length lay across the home.
Liz gingerly touched the tip of a branch that protruded through the ceiling of the den just a few feet from where she and her daughter, Beth, had been watching television.
“I still can't believe it really happened,” she said, pointing upwards. “But it could have been a whole lot worse—at least we're all still alive.”
Kimbrough said when she saw the tree start to come through the ceiling, she grabbed her daughter and ran.
“That tree is so big, it really scared me when I realized it was coming through the roof,” she said.
Clint Kimbrough, the couple's son, shook his head Thursday as he stood in the yard and surveyed the size of the tree that the fierce winds deposited across the top of the roof line.
“When Daddy called me last night and told me the big tree had fell on the house, I rushed over, dreading what I was going to see, he said. “That tree is so huge I expected to see the house smashed flat. That's a whole lot of tree.”
Though the residence did suffer severe damage, it can be repaired, the Kimbroughs say. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the pine.
“I have no idea how old it is,” Liz said, leaning over and staring into the gaping hole where the tree had stood, which was very close to the house. “I only know that it was here when we moved here in 1965.”
When Ed Avis with Adams Tree Service arrived with his crane Thursday to remove the tree, his eyes widened as he took in the incredible scene.
“We've removed bigger trees than this, but not much bigger,” he said.
“I'm going to miss it,” Clint said. “It's going to seem really strange not seeing it here.”