Virginia Neighbors Deal With Trees Down on Their Homes

Winter storm damage across northern Virginia

By Julie Carey
|  Monday, Dec 9, 2013  |  Updated 8:18 PM EDT
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Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey reports on damage and difficulty from the ice storm.

Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey

Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey reports on damage and difficulty from the ice storm.

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George Depaoli was just headed out to de-ice the driveway of his father's Vienna home, when he got a call informing him there was a much bigger challenge ahead. An enormous oak, its limbs heavy with ice, had crashed down from Vienna's Northside Park onto his father's home.

When Depaoli arrived, he discovered he wasn't alone: A second tree had just fallen on the neighbor's house.

Depaoli said fortunately his father was out of town, otherwise he fears there may have been an injury or worse. The tree's branches stabbed into several rooms, including directly into the bathtub where his father might have been bathing.

"Nobody's hurt, that's the best part," said Depaoli. Still, he admits it's hard to see his boyhood home with such extensive damage.

"It's my family home," he said. "There are alot of memories, and that's the sad part, but luckily nothing is damaged too much we can't salvage."

Depaoli and a brother-in-law scrambled to relocate family heirlooms as water poured into the kitchen from one of several gashes in the home.

Next door, Heather Ireland was teleworking because her 7- and 10-year-old sons were home from their Fairfax County public school on this snow day.

She was on a conference call when she heard a loud noise, that she initially blamed on her boys. Once she hung up and began to look around, she discovered a tree had fallen on her home, coming to rest on the garage roof.

"The dry wall in the garage seems to be cracked and it's bowing a little bit," said Ireland. "I think we got off pretty lucky I think."

Ice-encrusted trees left thousands of others without electricity in northern Virginia as they fell on power lines, dragging them to the ground. In North Arlington, Syril Petit and her two children walked the dog through the neighborhood surveying the damage. She says the power was on when she awakened Monday morning.

"We were sitting having coffee commenting that we heard some transformers over the night and how lucky we were that we had power," recalled Petit. "About five-to-10 minutes later, the power went down and we knew we were in for different day."

Petit started a fire in the fireplace and that helped keep the thermostat at 65 into the late morning. Her children reveled in the chance to rough it.

"I like improvising," said sixth-grader Mara Petit.

A few miles away, busy North Glebe Road remained closed all day near the intersection with Military as utility crews worked on downed lines there.

In Alexandria at Trinity Drive and Sylvan Court, other families were left in the dark when a tree snapped in half and knocked out power.

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