Northern Ireland

Hurricane Ophelia: Narrow escape as tree crashes into sunroom

Damaged ceiling Image copyright Niall Fulton
Image caption Mr Dowds was sitting in the sunroom when the tree came crashing through the ceiling

A County Antrim man was lucky to escape serious injury when a 70-ft tree crashed into a sunroom in which he was sitting during Storm Ophelia on Monday.

The mature beech tree crashed into Tommy Dowds' house in Broughshane at about 12:35 BST on Monday.

He said there had been "no noticeable warning - no creaking, or cracking".

"If the tree had come down two or three feet closer to where I was sitting, it could have been a different story," he told BBC news NI.

Image copyright Niall Fulton
Image caption Monday's high winds proved too much for the mature beeches

He estimated the tree - and another that fell from his neighbour's garden - was as tall as 80 feet.

"I've had fears about the trees in the past being so close to adjacent residential property," he said.

Image copyright Niall Fulton
Image caption Mr Dowds said he had fears about the trees being so close to houses

"The neighbours have been fantastic - tidying up what could be tidied up and boarding up what could be boarded up.

Image copyright Niall Fulton
Image caption The sunroom will probably have to be demolished

Mr Dowds said he could only hazard a guess as to the the cost of repairs, but it would probably run into the tens of thousands of pounds as the sunroom would have to be replaced.

As he awaited the arrival of the loss adjusters, he said he feared there could be also be structural damage to the main part of the house.

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