Sunday storm explodes into West Columbia man’s home
Ernest Wyndham had no idea his life would be turned upside down Sunday afternoon. He was sitting in the upstairs of his house watching TV around 2 p.m., switching the channels between the weather, and a NASCAR race, when he heard something he described as the loudest explosion of his life.
“It blew screens off windows, doors flew open, and a giant cloud, like a mushroom cloud, flew through the whole house,” he said. The “cloud” was from insulation, that was displaced when three gigantic trees fell onto his house, simultaneously, as a result of high winds from Sunday’s storm.
“When I heard the boom I said out loud, ‘this is not gonna be good,’ before I walked to the door and peeked around the corner,” Wyndham said. “I was kind of in a state of ‘what do I do next,’ especially with it raining so hard.” The first two trees were connected at the base and knocked the third onto the house while they were falling. The damage was worsened with the amount of rain water that got into his house from the holes created by the trees.
Wyndham has lived in his house in West Columbia for 50 years. He said he planned on living a peaceful, retired life there. Now, he doubts the house will be recoverable.
“Right now I am in limbo about all this, my insurance agent is coming tomorrow,” he said. Pioneer Tree Service has been working on removing the trees from the roof, and limbs that are sitting in his house among piles of debris. “This is the worst we have seen from the storm,” said Pioneer employee Josh Gilmore.
Wyndham said he believes it may be beyond repair. He mentioned the home might need to be bulldozed after considering the tree-related damage, the water damage, and the electrical damage from an outdoor electrical fire that connected to his power line.
He is currently living in Lexington at his sister’s house. The only thing he can do, he said, is take it one day at a time. And he is thankful. Wyndham acknowledged if he had been standing at a different spot in his house, the outcome would have been very different.
“If I would have been in the kitchen or the back bedroom, I would have been dead Sunday afternoon,” he said. “So it could be a blessing in disguise. It’s just hard to see it that way right now.”
But Wyndham is taking steps to move forward. He has spoken with a realtor to begin the process of searching for a new place to live.