New emergency weather alert credited for saving Westlake woman’s life as trees crash down on her home
CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - An emergency weather alert broadcast on our cell phones, alerting Northeast Ohio about a dangerous thunderstorm, is credited for saving the life of a Westlake woman on Wednesday. It warned of a severe thunderstorm with the potential for damaging winds of up to 80 miles an hour.
Just before the storm hit, Jessica Grecol was getting ready for work. She heard the alert with a loud tone come over her cellphone. She tells 19 News it gave her just enough time to escape to the safety of her basement before two mammoth-sized trees crashed onto her Dover Center Road home. Taking down a utility pole, and live power lines that along with the trees blocked one exit to the house.
“It was so strange; the alert came across my phone like an Amber Alert which is why I looked at it. It was very loud, my phone vibrated. I read the alert and I was like I’m not going to mess around. I’m going downstairs. I call it a blessing from God. I mean I’m okay other than just shaken, Grecol said.
It was just minutes later when the two huge trees crashed down on to the rented home, “And after being in the basement for just three minutes I heard a very large crash, and the house was shaking. Unfortunately, as you can the trees came down and took out a good chunk of the house,” Grecol said.
Jessica’s husband Michael and her father raced from work to get to her and said proudly that even though she was shaken up she had the presence of mind to stay inside until they could survey the damage from outside and make sure she had a safe way out.
Her landlord Keith Jenkins, the owner of the house, and the owner of Jenkins Funeral Chapel in Westlake just in front of the Dover Center Road property also raced to get to Jessica to help. He’s thankful his tenant and her two cats are safe. He says the funeral home itself sustained no damage, other than a destroyed outside gazebo and downed utility pole and downed power lines. Now he’s working with his insurance company to repair his childhood home, hoping Jessica and her husband Michael can return soon.
“I’m sure it was a wind shear that just came across and took out the trees. But even with live wires on the ground, both the funeral home and the house still had power,” Jenkins said.
And believe it or not, landlord Jenkins and Jessica have been down this road before. Just about eleven months ago an even closer call when another tree fell onto the home with Jessica and her husband inside just feet away from the damage, “That one was a much closer call because we were actually standing in our dining room right before it came into the house,” Grecol said.
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