Around 10 p.m. Friday night, Kitty Caul and her husband, John, were relaxing in the living room of their home in Canby’s Village on the Lochs when the lights went out.
“We sat for a little bit and then decided we would go get in bed and take our puppies so we would stay warm,” Kitty said.
The decision almost certainly saved both of their lives.
About 15 minutes later, two 45-foot maple trees crashed through the roof of their home — crushing the very couch where Kitty had been sitting only moments earlier.
“They took out about six trusses and dumped about two and a half feet of insulation,” Kitty recalled. “Water was running in all over. We have a huge hole in our living room roof.”
John and Kitty acted quickly to gather up family photos and pieces of furniture that belonged to her grandmother and great-grandmother and move them to another part of the house.
The trees — the largest of which was three feet in diameter — took out a wooden pergola, the Cauls’ patio canopy and a small greenhouse, along with leaving at least eight holes in the roof.
While the clean-up and restoration is underway at their property, the Cauls moved into a nearby hotel — after making sure it was very pet-friendly.
“We’ve been in a hotel that would accept all the pets,” she said. “Our two dogs, our granddaughters’ two dogs, their cat, a tortoise and two geckos. I couldn’t believe how many pets were roaming the halls of the hotel. It was really a surprise.”
The Cauls, who have owned their home since 2014, were concerned that something like this might happen one day. They reported to management last spring that one of the trees appeared to be rotting and — since the tree was there before they purchased the home — abatement was the responsibility of the manufactured home park.
They sent a tree service to prune the grove — but the Cauls felt like more trimming was needed. Evidently, they were right.
Despite the blow, the Cauls made peace long ago with the fact that they are not in control. John Caul, a retired longtime firefighter and former deputy state fire marshal has seen such devastation in his career that Kitty believes it has given them “a different perspective on what’s important and what a real disaster is.”
“I’ve been in a 100-year flood and lost almost all my belongings,” Kitty said. “We had the fires last year and were only affected by smoke. Now, this. The only thing left is an earthquake and pestilence. I’m thankful for every little miracle. My children and grandchildren are safe, my pets are safe, my husband and I are safe. The house, furniture and other belongings are just stuff. Stuff can be replaced.”
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