Woman left pinned when 100-foot pine tree crashes through home

NORTON, MA (WHDH) - Last Friday’s nor’easter knocked down trees across the state, including in Norton, where one crashed down on a home and struck a woman inside, leaving her with serious injuries.

A 100-foot pine tree, toppled by fierce winds, split Debbie Churchill’s home in half. Churchill, 57, survived the frightening ordeal, but broke her back in five places.

“The wind was roaring. I didn’t hear the crack of the tree. All of sudden there was something very heavy pinning me,” Churchill told 7News. “My hip was pinned to the couch and my upper body was hanging toward the floor.”

Churchill’s husband, Mark, was in another room when his wife was struck. He dialed 911.

“Worst thing I’ve ever gone through in my life, and I’ve gone through quite a few things before,” Mark Churchill said.

Churchill was on her couch watching television when the tree fell. Fortunately, the tree also struck a wood stove, which absorbed most of the impact.

“In the end, it actually saved her life,” Mark Churchill said of the stove.

The impact of the tree drove the couch through the floor.

“The couch was pushed partially through the floor into the dirt crawl space under the cottage.” Debbie Churchill added. “Thank god for that, too. It took a little bit of the pressure off me.”

A gofundme page has been set up to help raise money to cover medical and rehabilitation expenses.

“I feel incredibly lucky to still have my mom,” Jessica Noyes said.

Norton firefighters used a hydraulic lift to remove the tree and free Churchill. She says she is very thankful for their actions.

Churchill also suffered a punctured lung and broken rib. She is expected to be released from the hospital in the near future. She will then begin rehab.

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