Massive Tree Falls Into Apartment Building, Trapping Families Inside
Severe thunderstorms plowed through North Central Florida Sunday afternoon, causing damage to buildings, cars and even people.
One southwest Gainesville apartment complex was hit especially hard by these storms.
A family of seven and a mother and her daughter had a massive tree fall through their apartments and officials say they became trapped inside.
"And all of a sudden, we heard this popping noise, and I was like, "What was that?!," said storm damage victim Brent Cunningham.
It looks like a hurricane ripped through The Reserve at Kanapaha apartments, leaving some at a loss.
Brent Cunningham and his girlfriend watched the destruction from their window.
"I thought something had fell on the building and I looked out the window and there was a large tree down in the front and obviously it fell down on her mother's car," said Cunningham.
Even more severe damage was reported in other parts of the complex.
A huge tree crashed into apartments in building 700 Sunday afternoon, falling on a mother and her daughter on the second floor and a family of seven on the ground floor.
The tree fell around those inside and the child on the second floor was transported for minor injuries.
"We were able to excavate them within a matter of ten minutes. We got them in route to the hospital as a precaution to make sure there are no extensive injuries," said Gainesville Fire Rescue District Chief Michael Cowart.
Although the cause of this damage hasn't been confirmed, officials say it looks like a tornado ripped through the area.
"That's what it looks like, especially for the size of the tree, it would have to be something pretty powerful, like a tornado," said District Chief Cowart.
Gainesville Fire Rescue responded to four different storm damage calls in this complex alone.
Residents say tree problems are a regular occurrence in this neighborhood and they feel this sort of damage could have been prevented.
"A lot of these trees look like they need trimming. Some of them are fairly dead. I hope they really get onto that and I trust that they will," said Cunningham.
Officials say the building the tree fell into did meet all the city building code standards.
The mother and daughter on the second floor will be staying with family members but the family of seven has been provided with a place to stay by the Red Cross until they can move back into their home.
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