Family’s lucky escape as gales blow huge tree onto Sunderland house

Tree blown onto a house in Falmouth Road, Ford, Sunderland. Below, Jean Simmons with granddaughters Brooke Simmons, 7, and Layla Simmons, 2.

Tree blown onto a house in Falmouth Road, Ford, Sunderland. Below, Jean Simmons with granddaughters Brooke Simmons, 7, and Layla Simmons, 2.

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A TERRIFIED family feared for the life of a two-year-old girl when 20ft tree crashed on to their house.

Jean Simmons said granddaughter Layla was asleep upstairs at the time, and was left in “total shock” after their lucky escape.

Jean Simmons outside her home in Falmouth Road in Ford estate, Sunderland, which has had the roof damaged by a tree crashing onto the house in the wind, She is seen here with her granddaughters Brooke Simmons 7, and Layla Simmons 2.

Jean Simmons outside her home in Falmouth Road in Ford estate, Sunderland, which has had the roof damaged by a tree crashing onto the house in the wind, She is seen here with her granddaughters Brooke Simmons 7, and Layla Simmons 2.

The 67-year-old retired shop assistant said she could have been killed had it toppled directly on to her semi-detached property in Falmouth Road, Ford Estate, in the high winds which have ravaged the region.

“I was in total shock, in tears,” she said. “I was in the kitchen when I heard this loud noise outside.

“I went running through the house to see what it was, and when I got to the window I saw this huge tree in the garden.

“Thankfully, it hit the side of my house.

Tree blown onto a house in Falmouth Road, Ford, Sunderland, in Thursdays severe winds.

Tree blown onto a house in Falmouth Road, Ford, Sunderland, in Thursdays severe winds.

“If it had been blown the other way, it would have come straight through my front window.”

Despite the noise, Layla, who was staying overnight at her grandmother’s home, remained oblivious to the drama which was unfolding outside.

“She was sound asleep in the back bedroom,” she said. “She didn’t have a clue what was going on.

“I was in a complete panic. I ran over to a neighbour’s house and they called the police for me.

“My other granddaughter was at her mum’s.

“I’m still amazed that the tree didn’t cause more damage.

“I thought it would have smashed the glass in the front window, but all it seems to have damaged is a few roof tiles, the fence and guttering.”

Layla’s mum Keeley Metters, 29, also from Ford Estate, said she was relieved nobody was hurt.

“Thank God nobody was walking by at the time,” said the mother-of-two.

“If it had fallen on someone, they would have been killed. No doubt about it.

“I can’t imagine what would have happened if it had come down during the daytime.

“Layla might even have been playing in the garden.”

The family are now making arrangements to have the tree removed and the garden repaired.

“We hope to get things sorted out as quickly as possible,” said Layla’s dad Gary Simmons, 31.

“It’s a real mess out there. We didn’t realise how serious it was until we saw it in the daylight.

“Everyone who passes the house seems to be stopping to have a look. Some are even taking pictures.”

Firefighters were called to the scene at about 9.40pm on Thursday, but were stood down after an inspection revealed the property was structurally safe.

Twitter: @SunderlandEcho