Connecticut family survives tree that fell on kitchen

The maple tree resting on the kitchen of Butch and Pam Meily’s Stamford home.

By Cristina DC Pastor

Like most nights, Pam Meily was doing the dishes after dinner. Except that October 29 was not like any other evening. Power was out and hurricane Sandy was blowing ferocious winds throughout the Northeast. Pam was looking out the kitchen window of her Stamford, Connecticut home when an old tree – one of several oaks and maples that surrounded her home — began to bend from the winds then fell slicing her kitchen in half.

“I could see it falling toward me, like in slow motion,” Pam was laughing as she recounted to The FilAm what Sandy’s fury had done to her country-style home located in a posh community where Diana Ross and Gene Wilder are among the celebrity residents.

Husband Butch, the president of the Philippine-American Chamber of Commerce, and 16-year-old son Marco – both in the den at the time — raced to the next floor. Marco screamed, “Mom!” As Butch recalled, “We rushed to the kitchen and saw a big hole with tree branches poking through it where our picture window used to be. Right next to my wife’s head, was another branch pushing through a window.”

Butch and Pam Meily attend the Bayanihan dance concert at the Jazz at Lincoln Center days after the hurricane. Photo by Elton Lugay

As Butch was frantically dialing 911, Pam was looking for slippers to protect her husband and son from the broken glass littering the floor.

“I was looking for jackets and slippers just in case we had to flee the house,” she recalled.

From that moment on, it has been a succession of “thank Gods” for the Meily family who moved to Stamford in 2004: Thank God, the family taped the windows so the glass did not shatter in tiny pieces; thank God they packed a bin with emergency supplies so they knew where the flashlight was; thank God Sandy did not bring a lot of rains; thank God Pam escaped unhurt.

Butch got nothing but busy signals as he called 911; Marco texted a friend to help the family make calls as well. Pam went out to shut the kitchen door. That evening, the Meilys slept in the basement listening to radio updates on the storm, consoling themselves with the thought that the family was safe even though the house was badly bruised.

“Funny, but Butch was always saying, maybe we should cut down the trees,” said Pam regaining a sense of irony. Their four-bedroom, 4.5-bathroom house is within a wooded area, she said. The maple tree was old and tall, and when it fell the damage was evident on the porch, the kitchen and part of Marco’s bedroom on the second level.

The Meilys and their dog Scruffy are now staying at the Long Island home of Pam’s sister, while damage to the property is being assessed by the insurance company. The tree had been chopped to pieces and put away, and the kitchen soon to undergo a major makeover.

Mused Butch: “It reminded me of Yoling in 1972, which tore the roof of my family’s house in Loyola Heights. My family never forgot that.”

Pam was just relieved the family is whole – and fine. And yet again: “Thank God.”

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: