SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — The brunt of Tuesday’s atmospheric river hit San Jose with howling wind around 2 a.m. The raging storm woke up 29-year-old Lauren Kirchick, who had been sleeping inside her condo with her husband, Eric.
Kirchick asked her husband, “Do you hear this? I don’t have a good feeling about these trees. I need to check.” Eric said he was still half asleep, and got out of bed to use the bathroom.
“She gets up and walks to the side of the room near the windows where I sleep. As I am walking back towards our room, I hear her yell ‘Oh my God,'” Eric told KRON4.
Eric said the next thing he heard was a “huge crash.” “She is still in there screaming and yelling and crying. It is pitch black and I can barely see anything,” he said.
Eric rushed to help his wife in the bedroom and feared she was severely injured by the eucalyptus tree that had just smashed through the roof. He reached his wife under the branches and pulled her out from the debris.
“I am holding her and yelling, ‘are you hurt, are you hurt?’ She doesn’t really answer and is just hysterical,” Eric said.
The couple then ran into their living room and Kirchick hoped that the terrifying incident was all a bad dream.
“I remember her asking me ‘Are we dreaming?’ I say, ‘No, this is real, and we need to get out of here. I grab our laptops and throw them in my backpack, along with my wallet and car keys,” Eric said. Still in a state of shock, the couple went downstairs, checked on their neighbors to make sure they were OK, and called 911.
“It was a real life nightmare,” Eric told KRON4.
The couple then drove to Eric’s parents’ house in Alameda, where they have remained ever since. The couple said their condo sustained major damages and will take weeks to repair.
Eric credits his wife with saving both of their lives.
“We are both pretty traumatized and the thought of going back to that room again really scares us. It’s very sad because we love living there and have done a lot to make it our home. It will be a long road to recovery, but I am just so thankful that we are alive … with nothing but some bumps and scratches. It could have been a lot worse. I believe there was an angel that told Lauren to get out of bed. I am so thankful. Lauren saved our lives,” Eric said.
Saturated soil from a parade of storms has left trees across the Bay Area vulnerable to falling during windy weather. Eucalyptus trees have shallow roots that make the non-native trees especially prone to falling.
The National Weather Service issued another Bay Area-wide Flood Watch and Wind Advisory that will go into effect early Saturday morning. “A cold front will bring a brief period of wind gusts to 50 mph from the pre-dawn hours to around midday on Saturday. Downed tree limbs and power outages are possible,” the NWS Bay Area wrote.