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Downed tree forces family of 7 out of their home

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Updated: 1/13 12:07 am
ORANGE PARK, Fla. -- A family of seven was forced out of their home after a massive tree slammed into their house on Noel Road, leaving them without power and water.

Dry, rotted pieces of wood now sit where the tree used to stand in Omar Gonzalez's front yard. Its trunk now rests on the roof of the house he's called home for three years.

"We don't have any insurance for the house so everything is going to be coming out of pocket. So we're just working with the Red Cross right now," said Gonzalez.

Neighbor Jenny Tague recalled hearing the tree topple over Saturday afternoon.

"It was a very loud sound most of us heard it. I was inside, I heard this huge loud crashing," said Tague.

Tague and several neighbors immediately stepped in to help before the rain began pouring through the holes in the roof.

"It was about an hour and half afterward before it started raining and that's when we got in hurry to get the tarps and everything onto the house," said neighbor Keith Rudnitskie.

According to Gonzalez, had it not been for a last minute craving they would've all been inside the house.

"My wife decided to go out for a smoothie. So I said, 'Sure lets go, we're not doing anything better.' So we took off and not even 15 to 20 minutes later, the neighbors called us," said Gonzalez.

Gonzalez said he's thankful his neighbors were there to help.

"It's a blessing, you don't know the heart of people until stuff like this happens," said Gonzalez.

According to Gonzalez, he had scheduled a tree company to cut the tree down next weekend. He said Clay Electric will trim the branches of what's left of the tree on his yard away from the power lines on Monday.

The Red Cross has provided the family with two nights at a local hotel. Gonzalez says he's been warned the roof is not structurally sound and he shouldn't move back in until a proper assessment is done.

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