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Surviving the Storm: Winter weather wreaks havoc on Sooke woman’s home

Maple Avenue home hit by tree
Stephanie Lumley stands under where a tree hit the roof of her home and left a large branch sticking through the ceiling. (Rick Stiebel- Sooke News Mirror)

Tuesday’s wild winter storm left Stephanie Lumley with a memorable and rude awakening that she won’t forget.

“The wind was howling so loud that it woke me up at about 6 a.m.,” said Lumley, who was in the upstairs bedroom of her Sooke home on Maple Avenue. “I tried to get back to sleep when a loud bang hit a minute or two later that scared the hell out of me.”

As Lumley rushed around in the dark, trying to determine what happened, she felt bits of something under her feet, later discovering it was insulation.

“I turned on the flashlight on my phone, and that’s when I saw the branch sticking through the ceiling,” she said. “I called my husband Ken at work, and he immediately emailed me the contact information for their insurance company.

“A couple of hours later, it dawned on me that if it happened a little earlier, it would have hit Ken as he was getting out of the shower.”

Lumley was amazed when an inspector from First General Property Restoration arrived less than an hour after she called, followed by a crane operator and Bartlett Tree Service shortly after that.

“It was like a domino effect,” Lumley marvelled. “Everyone was amazing, and they kept me informed every step of the way. I can’t imagine quicker, better service.”

At 3:15 p.m., after the tree was removed and the roof temporarily patched, Lumley was advised to stay out of the upper floor until further repairs were completed.

“At this point, it’s drying out and prepared for the next weather system,” she said.

A complete restoration could take up to 12 weeks, with early estimates putting the work in the $20,000 to $25,000 range or more.

“The bathroom’s a complete write-off,” Lumley said. “I hope this is a huge reminder to everyone about the importance of having complete house and property insurance. If we didn’t have that, this probably would have bankrupted us.”

Although there didn’t appear to be any issues with the tree that toppled onto the roof, Lumley suggested having trees on the property assessed is a good idea.

“B.C. Hydro should be applauded as well for their efforts in getting people’s power restored,” she stressed. “Thanks to everyone who puts their safety at risk working out there in 70K plus winds.”

On the lighter side, Lumley said she was glad to have her father’s support while all this was happening.

“He’s here from Ontario and got more bang than he expected with this visit,” she added with a smile.

Nelson Quark with First General Property Restoration said Lumley’s home was one of three they were working on in Sooke, and he expects there will be more to come.

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About the Author: Rick Stiebel

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