Tatum residents work to clear downed trees after morning storms

Family, friends rush to save items that belonged to 16-year-old girl killed in 2017 car crash

Tatum residents work to clear downed trees after morning storms

TATUM, TX (KLTV) - Early morning storms in the Tatum area uprooted a pine tree which fell on a home. It happened at the corner of Benjamin Street and Highway 149 in Tatum.

Limbs from the tree pierced the roof, letting rain into the bedroom of a sixteen year old girl who died in a 2017 car crash.

Chad Swanson and his wife were awakened when the power went out and the wind hit.

“We got up out of bed and two, three minutes later we heard the crash. The tree fell through the roof, came through the ceiling,” Chad said.

With rain coming in they got busy:

“Getting everything out of the room that we could trying to save what was in there,” Chad stated.

No one had stayed in the room for some time.

“It was my daughter’s room and she passed in 2017,” Chad said

She was 16-year-old Sarah Paige Stanfield. She died when her vehicle flipped on Highway 43.

Sarah Paige Stanfield was killed in a wreck in 2017. (Source: Family)
Sarah Paige Stanfield was killed in a wreck in 2017. (Source: Family)

“It was just kind of all of her stuff as she left it. So now it’s kind of just in a big mess,” Chad said.

The room was empty, insulation and drywall on the floor. Workers moved quickly to get the limbs out of the house and were working on a large pine trunk which rested on the roof.

“And we’ve been on bucket brigade inside emptying trash cans and bowls and pitchers, vases and anything we can find that will hold water,” Chad stated.

The bedroom’s contents were in the living room. A couple of Sarah’s classmates helped separate the wet from the dry.

“We have to throw it in the washer or dryer so it doesn’t mildew,” Chad instructed.

More than Sarah’s room was damaged.

“There were probably seven or eight limbs that pushed through in different places,” Chad said.

They have lived in the house for a decade.

“Never had this happen before. Didn’t know what to expect. We’re just moving along trying to get things going,” Chad added.

The work continued on the roof, while in the living room Sarah’s classmates carefully organized her things.

That wasn’t the only tree down around Tatum. The storm downed at least a dozen more trees on FM 1797 just west of town.

A large tree fell through an outbuilding, and just down the road trees were down on several properties blocking driveways. Another house had limbs on the roof. Trees blocked the road for a short time Thursday morning. Residents have been working to clear driveways and clean up debris.

Copyright 2019 KLTV. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2019 KLTV. All rights reserved.