It was like a bomb had gone off.
That’s how Cindy Brennan describes the appearance of her front yard after Hurricane Dorian toppled 19 trees on her property in Seacow Pond. Ten of those trees came crashing down in the front, three of them landing right on her Broderick Road home.
Dorian walloped PEI with high winds and heavy rains last week, beginning Sept. 7 and continuing overnight into Sept. 8. It’s been reported that North Cape saw winds up to 122 Km/h and 135.4 millimetres of rain was recorded to have fallen in the Tignish area.
The night of Dorian, before the rain and the wind began, Ms Brennan was down at the wharf in Tignish with her husband Ricky to help secure her son Alex’s lobster fishing boat.
Afterwards, as the weather conditions began to deteriorate, the Brennans returned home around 9 pm and were about to switch on their generator, as the place had lost power, when the first tree in their yard fell, toppling onto their house.
“It was like one big puff of wind at nine o’clock and about two minutes later the first tree fell,” said Ms Brennan.
The tree landed on the east side of the house, right onto some electrical wires attached to the home.
While the couple was waiting for their son Nathan, who lives next door, to come over to help remove the tree from the wires because it was pulling everything off the house, the second tree fell onto the home.
“My husband was pulling his boots on at the front door and the other tree fell right onto the house,” said Ms Brennan. “And then about two minutes later the other tree fell right there as well, right beside it.”
With the main entrance blocked, Mr Brennan had to use the patio door to the back deck to go outside.
“You couldn’t see anything in the front,” said Ms Brennan. “The trees were extremely big.”
Ms Brennan said the trees, mostly poplar, were about 150 feet high and had been planted on the property about 30 years ago by the couple.
When her husband came back into the house, he asked Ms Brennan to call for some help. She called a couple of neigbours and then she made a post on social media.
“When I got on Facebook, I just asked for help, and within probably about 15 minutes we had about 25 people here,” she said.
As people arrived to their home, the wind shifted and two more trees fell.
“We couldn’t really see anything, because it was so dark and we had no power,” said Ms Brennan of that night. “Some of the neighbours had their vehicles parked on the road and pointing in here for light, because the only light I had from the generator was my little light on the house and it was covered by the tree.”
At one point, a decision was made to cut down another tree to avoid it if from falling onto the home. While her husband and others were preparing to cut the tree, another tree fell down right beside them.
“Our electrician came because before they could fall that other tree, we had to get him here to cut the wires from the house, so my son Alex and Ricky were holding the ladder for him and Nathan was waiting to cut that tree off and while they were waiting, as soon as he cut the wires, they cut a little bit on the tree and it fell and that’s when the other tree fell beside them,” explained Ms Brennan. “It was terrifying for them but I couldn’t see anything. I was listening to everybody yell but I couldn’t see anything.”
The Brennans will be replacing their roof and fixing damage done to the home’s siding. There was also some water damage inside the house due to leakage. But they manage to move their brand new camper to safety before it was crashed by any of the trees.
The majority of those who came out to help were fishermen and after the trees were removed from the home, many of them left to keep an eye on their boats as high tide approached, which was at midnight.
Her sons and husband left to keep an eye on their own boats while Ms Brennan stayed behind.
“I didn’t sleep,” she admitted.
They waited until that Monday to start cleaning up and it took about eight straight hours to get what they could tidied up.
Ms Brennan said her family is thankful and appreciative to everyone who had helped them out and will never forget the caring help of family, neighbours and friends.
“It really shows you and tells you what your community is like, but I will never, ever underestimate Mother Nature again,” she said. “Never thought the trees would fall because they are 33 years old and they survived that big storm last winter. We never thought they would fall. That quick and one right after each other. Within an hour they were all down.”