Tree crashes down on Independence family’s home with mom and toddler inside

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- A morning filled with stormy skies and heavy rain takes its toll on a family’s home.

It means some major clean up for a metro family, after high winds send a huge oak tree into the roof of their home. Neighbors near the intersection of South Farley Terrance and Roberts Street told FOX 4 News Monday it sounded like a bomb went off.

Heavy wind blew through that section of west Independence, uprooting the big tree, and missing the people who live in that rental house by mere inches.

“God was definitely watching over us. We were blessed,” Jacqueline Cowans said.

Cowans and her two-year old son were asleep in the front bedroom of their rental home when high winds tore this huge tree from the ground, and dropped it on their family home.

“I heard some crackin' and then, what sounded like a train hit the house,” Cowan said. “The ceiling started coming in on me and my two-year old, so i just sort of grabbed him, covered his head and ran out of the room.”

Cowans says her husband, Shawn, was at work and came rushing home. She says the tree left her bedroom without a roof, and missed her and her toddler by just a few feet.

“I was thinking that God was with my family. That's what I was thinking,” Shawn Cowans said.  “Looking at the damage, it's pretty bad.”

Building inspectors from the city of Independence have already condemned the building, saying it's unsafe for people to use. Jeff Wolfe owns this home, as well as other rental properties. Wolfe says the big tree might be as old as the home itself, which was built in the 1930's. Lots of neighbors on this street are checking in, offering the Cowans their support, including Thelma Edwards.

“It woke me up. I thought something fell on my house or the house was falling in,” Edwards said.

“It's going to be tough finding someplace to go, but God was looking over us,” Cowans said.

What's worse, the Cowans family didn't carry renters' insurance on that property. Shawn Cowans told FOX 4 News the American Red Cross will provide his family with a motel room for three days, but after that, he's not sure where his family will stay.