Bad luck came crashing down for a Lake Parsippany couple living on Flemington Drive. A number of heavy branches from an old tree in the home's backyard unexpectedly broke free and fell Sunday night, damaging the house, a storage facility and a boat.
Joe Petro and his wife had no idea what was happening when the incident occurred.
"At about 9 o'clock, we were sleeping when all of a sudden we heard this loud 'booooom,'" Petro told Patch. "It scared the hell out of us."
According to Petro, four neighbors came running to find out what was happening and to make sure the couple was safe. He said it didn't take long to figure out what was wrong.
Standing in the backyard, the homeowner pointed up toward a huge oak tree that showed visible damage.
"See that branch?" he asked. "It broke. It left a couple of holes in the roof.
Petro said he had to move fast in dealing with the damage.
"The insurance company gave me 48 hours to secure the roof so that water couldn't get in," he explained. "If any water gets into the house and damages anything, I'm not covered."
Petro said he was fortunate to find Harbor View Restoration, a Staten Island, N.Y., contractor that offers emergency service 24 hours per day. Large blue sheets of tarpaulin now cover a huge hole over the bedroom and over a damaged skylight.
Also hit in the incident: an old trailer he uses as a shed and a boat in the back yard that belongs to his brother-in-law.
"This is really sad," he said. "He just brought it over here yesterday. It's cracked underneath. We don't know how much damage is done because we can't get under there yet.
"I don't know if the insurance will cover the boat, but the trailer is used as a storage [facility], so it should be covered," he said.
Petro and his wife have lived in the home, a modified log cabin, since 1977.
"About four years ago, we had the roof re-done," he said, adding that the dwelling's exterior had been recently painted as well.
"The gutter's ruined, the fascia on the side of the house is ruined," he said. "No one was hurt, so in the big picture we are lucky. It could have been much worse. If the branch had fallen just a few inches closer [to the back of the building]... That's our bedroom under there."
As it is, a branch left a huge hole in the house's living room ceiling.
This isn't the first time Petro has dealt with this particular trouble. He said a tree limb fell onto the house several years ago and caused some damage, "but not like this."
He noted that while he did not know the reason that the limbs fell, Petro speculates that the tree's age, which he could not pinpoint, may be a factor.
"It's a very old tree," he said. "There was no wind. There was no rain. Nothing."
Patch requests for information with Parsippany Police, which serves as the hub for the township's emergency responders, so far have not been returned.
Repair work is already underway and Petro said he hopes to have the bulk of it and his dealings with his insurance company completed by the end of the week.
"I'm taking off this week to deal with everything," he said. "My wife was just a wreck over this. She only got an hour of sleep afterward. Me, I slept through it.
"I just know that we're lucky nobody was hurt and that we have great neighbors."