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Sunday storms leave an impression on area
Tree falls on home, causes minor injuries
Ludowici police chief T.J. Gaskin checks fallen tree
Ludowici Police Chief T.J. Gaskin is dwarfed by the root system of a tree that fell. - photo by Randy C.Murray

A Ludowici woman was injured when a tree fell on her mobile home, and thousands of other coastal Georgia residents were left without power for hours after storms came through the area late Sunday night and early Monday morning.

“Had it not been for the washing machine, that lady would have been crushed,” explained Barbara Griffis, manager of Pecan Park Mobile Home Estates in Ludowici. “The washing machine on the other side of the trailer kept that tree from completely crushing her.”

Glyis Major was rudely awakened by the crash then found herself trapped in her bed, pinned by a huge pecan tree that fell across the trailer around 9:30 p.m. Griffis said Rick Major was able to get out from under the tree, but he couldn’t get his wife out, so he ran for help.

“I heard the wind getting real bad and looked out the window,” said Lynne McGrail, Major’s mother and neighbor. “I saw the tree on their trailer just as he came to the door. He was trying to get someone to help him get her out. It’s a miracle she got out okay.”

Help came in the form of the Ludowici Police and Fire Departments, McGrail and another neighbor, Michael Strickland. Strickland was already out in the storm pulling a large limb out of the road. He said he heard a tree snap and fall on something, so he headed in the direction of the Majors’ trailer where he ran into Rick Major.

A former volunteer fireman who now works at Hinesville Ford, Strickland said he crawled in the bedroom window to help Glyis Major as police and firemen used chain saws to cut limbs and make an opening in the trailer. The storm continued around them as they worked.

“She was bleeding pretty bad on the back of her head, but most of the pressure seemed to be on her hip,” he said. “She was fading in and out, so I told her I was going to pull her out from under the tree then get her out of there. They had opened the wall at one end, so I laid across the opening like a bridge so they could pull her out over me.”

T.J. Gaskin, Ludowici Police chief, said Glyis Major was treated at a hospital and released. His office stayed pretty busy Sunday night and Monday morning, he said. In fact, he didn’t get home until 5 a.m., where he “grabbed” two hours of sleep and returned to duty.

“Yeah, I was pulling trees out of the road and directing traffic all night,” Gaskin said. “We called some extra officers in and the sheriff’s department called some officers in. The police department, fire department and sheriff’s department all worked together. We helped each other out. I want to commend my own officers as well as the Long County Sheriff Department deputies and the Ludowici Fire Department firemen for the work they did.”

In addition to the tree down at Pecan MH Park, Ludowici resident Andy Mock had a huge willow tree fall across two of his storage buildings and his dog pen. Gaskin seemed to be dwarfed by the 30-foot, exposed root system of the big tree as he stood near it, pointing to where part of the root system was visibly rotted.

Mock, 47, said the root rot, heavy rain and high winds were probably what brought down the big tree. He said he’d seen worse storms but not recently.

Less than a mile from the Majors’ trailer and Mock’s home, Georgia Power repairmen were busy trying to restore power caused by a broken power pole. Green flags on the poles on either side of the broken one indicated the power had been turned off.

Asplundh Tree Expert Co. was on-hand to remove a pine tree that had fallen on the power line just above the broken pole.

Damage in Hinesville included a large tree down next to Oglethorpe Professional Plaza and lots of downed limbs throughout the city. A fireworks tent in the Walmart parking lot took off without the aid of black powder.

David Midgorden, a member of Life United Pentecostal Church, said the fireworks tent had been a fund-raiser for the church since the state made small fireworks legal. He said he had just gone home when coworker Cody Deforrest called to tell him the tent had been blown down and fireworks were getting soaked by the rain and strewn by the wind.

According to Georgia Power spokeswoman Carol Boatwright, 330 customers in the Hinesville area were still without power as of 10:30 a.m. Monday. Canoochee Electric Membership Corporation reported 2,600 members were without power for several hours and about 1,000 were still without power as of 3:15 p.m. Monday. The company reported that by evening all customers had power restored.

Coastal Electric Cooperative customers also experienced several scattered outages overnight. Spokesman Mark Bolton said about 1,500 members throughout the company’s four-county service area were in the dark, due in part to six broken power poles in different areas.

Bolton said the broken poles accounted for the longest outages, but all power was restored by 11 a.m. Monday.

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