A BUILDER had a lucky escape when a tree crashed into his shed during the gale force winds on Monday.
Pat Byrne was working inside when he heard a creaking sound and immediately got out.
Seconds later an 80 foot high oak tree fell through the roof, completely destroying the 14ft by 10 ft shed.
Yesterday (Wednesday), the 53-year-old, of Carronvale Road in Larbert, was still reeling.
He told the Herald: “I had gone into the shed to get a chainsaw to cut some logs.
“I heard a loud creaking noise so got out and moments later the old oak came crashing through the roof.
“I was shell-shocked – if I hadn’t left when I did I would have been dead. I’ve no doubt about that.”
The tree completely destroyed the work shed and damaged part of the roof of the house.
Luckily wife Sandra, a home carer, was at work when the tree fell at around 2 p.m. while children from the Ladeside Primary, next door to the house, were still in class.
Pupils use the lane at the side of the house to get to and from school and, if the incident had been an hour later, Pat fears a child could have been injured or killed.
Pat, who is dad to Kevin (33), Stuart (29) and Lauren (23), and also has grandson, Ryutaro (3), owns a building and joinery company, Annagry.
He added: “It could have been much worse. The oak would have smashed into the house too but a birch tree was in the way and deflected it on to the shed.
“I’ve not been able to get into the shed yet as the tree is still on top of it.
‘‘Ironically one of the few things I could get from the destroyed shed was my chainsaw so I’ve been able to start cutting the tree into pieces to move it.
“I’m just very glad I heard the creaking noise – judging by my flattened shed I would have been squashed! I guess luck was on my side on Monday.”
Winds reached speeds of up to 100 miles per hour in the Stirlingshire area on Monday and caused havoc all over the country.
Dozens of trees came down all over Falkirk and debris – including trampolines, fences, wheelie bins and guttering – was blown around the streets.
Motorists were warned not to make unnecessary journeys and to plan ahead for their trips.
Larbert Road in Bonnybridge was closed on Monday afternoon after a tree fell, blocking the route, and thousands of pounds of damage to buildings and vehicles across the district has been reported.
Commuters faced a nightmare with trains and buses disrupted. ScotRail had no services from Falkirk to Glasgow and Edinburgh from early afternoon until 8.30 p.m.
An estimated £20,000 of damage was caused when a tree struck a house in Castle Avenue in Airth.
Pat Nicol lives next door and was grateful to Steven McLeod from Airth Castle, who owns the land the tree stands on, for reacting quickly.
Mrs Nicol said: “After the tree came down in the next door garden I was worried about what would happen next, I think we all were.
“Mr McLeod organised tree surgeons and a team of men with chainsaws to cut trees down and take branches off others to make them safe.
“They worked all day and into the night and came back on Tuesday to clear up the mess.”
A car was crushed in Callendar Business Park by a fallen tree and many more were damaged throughout the district.
Members of the public were praised by council officials and police for their help clearing up after the gales.
Good Samaritans cleared roads of branches and debris and farmers even volunteered their time and tractors to clear larger items.
Clearing up P3
We Say P12