Metro Atlanta family homeless but lucky to be alive after massive tree crashes through home

Metro Atlanta family glad to be alive after tree crashes through home

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — A DeKalb County family is homeless after a huge tree crushed their rental house Saturday night.

Strong winds and rain likely contributed to the 100-year-old oak coming down along Fellowship Road in Tucker.

Channel 2′s Berndt Petersen talked to the grandmother who lived in the home. Cheryl Castleberry said it was “very frightening,” but thank goodness everyone is safe and sound.

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“All I said last night was, Thank you God, thank you God,'” Castleberry said. “I was just screaming thank you God the whole way.”

Castleberry’s family of five -- including her grandchildren, 4-year-old Audrey and 4-month-old Wyatt -- were inside when the tree came down. Castleberry’s son, Luke Matalone, opened the door to take a look just as the violent storm was coming through.

"It blew me back into the house," Matalone said. "My clothes were flapping. All the tree branches were flapping. Stuff was flying everywhere, and then we heard this loud boom."

That sound was the tree coming through the roof and into the living room and the room where Castleberry usually sleeps. It's tradition for Audrey to sleep in her grandmother's room every Saturday night, but this time, Castleberry slept in Audrey's room. It may have saved their lives.

That’s why Castleberry said she thanks heaven, “because the baby was perfect. Audrey was shaking really hard, but she was OK. I found her some boots and we got out.”

Castleberry is a nurse at the Atlanta VA hospital. The family has been able to retrieve some items from the house, but so far, none of Castleberry’s clothes. They do not have renter’s insurance, so friends are setting up a GoFundMe to try to help them get by.