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Downed tree traps two in Flomaton

By By Robert Blankenship
Special to the Advance
A fallen tree left two people trapped inside their mobile home Friday morning and local officials are now looking to help them put their lives back together.
Robert Settlemire and Ann Grady, both said to be in their mid-40s, were inside their mobile home in Henderson Trailer Park on Wiley Drive in Flomaton when a tree was blown down onto their home.
Flomaton firefighters were called to the scene and were told that two people were trapped inside. However, by the time they arrived, Settlemire, who is blind, was able to escape the crushed trailer.
According to FPD Chief Steve Stanton, firefighters used a ladder to get to a bedroom window where they were able to carry Grady out.
"There were some power lines down and we had to make sure that it was safe to go in," Stanton said. "Once we learned it was safe we went ahead with the rescue."
Neither victim suffered injuries in the accident. After they were outside of the trailer, both residents were concerned about two birds – a parakeet and a cockatiel – that they had lived with for many years.
"They were in tears over the birds," Stanton said.
Nine hours after the tree feel, officials found the birds – one alive and the other dead.
The one bird was about all that remained from the home and efforts are being made to collect donations from the public to help the residents get back on their feet.
"Both of them are disabled and they lost everything," Stanton said. "They had no insurance and are in need of everything from clothes to furniture."
Stanton said local residents can contribute items through the local Red Cross and Salvation Army.
The cause of the tree falling is considered to be strong winds.
"The tree just fell during the bad winds," he said. "We had several trees down and I'm not so sure that it wasn't a tornado that touched down."