Retired couple shaken after tree smashes house |

Retired couple shaken after tree smashes house

Karl Horeis
More than 60 feet of tree up to four feet in diameter fell on the Secor's house in Garderville, smashing the roof and coming to rest on the ceiling rafters Friday afternoon. Despite the extensive structural damage, water damage appeared to be minimal. Photo by Brian Corley

When heavy winds knocked a Cottonwood tree onto the roof of Effie and Bill Secor’s 96-year-old house Friday afternoon in Gardnerville, Effie said it sounded louder than thunder.

“I was sitting in the kitchen eating and the whole house bounced,” she said. “My little dog ran under the table. He’s the only smart one here.”

The tree was one of several old Cottonwoods along Centerville Lane near the Lutheran Church and the turn for Lampe Park.

The tree fell across the apex of the roof on the two-story house, breaking through the roof and resting in the attic. Limbs then fell onto the porch, breaking boards in half. Branches and debris littered the yard.

The impact of the tree also damaged the ceiling of an upstairs bedroom, cracking the plaster and leaving a downward bulge into the room.

“They’re sleeping downstairs now,” said Secor’s son Aubrey Cronkright. “They’re kinda worried.”

Cronkright drove up from his home at Topaz Lake.

“I came up and was shocked to find the house like this,” he said. “I ran into the house and asked, ‘Is everybody all right?’ Thank goodness nobody was hurt.”

Luckily, it looks like the tree removal and roof patch will be covered by home owner’s insurance.

“My mom called the insurance right away and they said they’d take care of it,” said Cronkright.

For now the process of removing the tree, which is three-to-four feet thick at the base, is under way. Secor said the removal work is estimated to cost $1,900.

“We’re going to pull that tree out of there and try to get the hole covered until this storm blows over,” said Cronkright.

Meanwhile, the storm still howled.

“The wind’s starting to blow again and there’s another limb that looks like it could come down,” said Effie Secor. “This has really wracked my nerves.”