Elderly woman narrowly missed by falling tree during Malta storms


MALTA, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Some families are still dealing with damage caused by Sunday’s severe storms. The family of a woman narrowly missed by a falling tree wants their property owner to get rid of dying trees so it doesn’t happen again.

Clean up continues on a knocked down tree that smashed through the roof of a home at Malta Gardens and into a bedroom where Joyce Downing slept.

“It was like a bomb going off; she didn’t know what was going on,” said Kristen Baldwin-Dedrick.

The 74-year-old awoke to the noise and falling insulation.

“And then the bang hit, and my mom’s door just like crumbled open,” said her son, Michael Downing.

Now sunlight peaks in through the ceiling surrounded by splintered beams and crumbled dry wall.

“She’s lucky to have survived,” said Baldwin-Dedrick.

Baldwin-Dedrick wipes away a tear as her fiancé, Michael Downing, talks about what comes next.

“Obviously, my mom can’t live here being disabled and needing oxygen, so now we just gotta find where to put her,” said Downing.

He also wants Malta Gardens to take down other trees saying many are dead and dangerous. Neighbors Jessica and Chad Grugan agree.

“Can you imagine if that tree fell? It would kill everyone inside; it would level the house, flatten it, completely flatten,” said Chad.

A tree fell on their house, too, damaging both their daughter’s bedrooms.

“There was a tree branch sticking through the ceiling,” said Jessica.

The property manager of Malta Gardens declined to speak with NEWS10 ABC, but a corporate spokesperson for The Solomon Organization says a tree company does annual checks at the property and removes problem trees.

Both families are now waiting on homeowners insurance, but they say the impacts goes far beyond the physical damage.

“I can’t sleep at night; it’s like the sound just repeats over and over in my brain,” said Jessica.

Among the looming trees, these families say they don’t feel safe in their own homes.

Kristen Dedrick has set up an online fundraiser.

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