‘I didn’t want to die’: Woman recovering after tree falls on home in Calhoun County

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CALHOUN COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — A Calhoun County woman feels blessed to be alive after a tree crashed into her house and left her pinned under debris.

It happened during strong storms Saturday afternoon in the Saks community of Calhoun County.

Brittany Varner said she was on her bed with her mother when the tree came down.

“I had just told her the weather was bad, but it was OK, I said we’re fine, and I no more said that and the tree fell,” Varner said.

Varner said was concerned for her husband and child, who were also in the home.

“I didn’t want to die. I have a 5-year-old. I just wanted to make it out,” said Varner.

While Varner had her phone in her hand, she was unable to dial 911. She said her husband kept her calm while first responders rushed to help.

“My phone was in my hand when I was pinned. I couldn’t get my fingers to call 911. I couldn’t get my thumb up enough to touch the 1,” said Varner.

Calhoun County Sheriff Matthew Wade said he was with his daughter’s boyfriend, who is also a Piedmont Firefighter when they heard about trees down in the Saks area.

Wade and others made it to the home to find the woman.

“People started pushing and digging because the brick wall was not just bricks, it was the whole wall still intact that had fallen over and that’s a lot heavier than people think it is. We were able to get enough pressure to where she was able to climb out to us,” said Wade.

Wade credited other first responders from various agencies who also helped, including an officer from nearby Anniston.

Brittany Varner still has a bruise on her head, but she knows the situation could have been much worse. Her daughter and husband escaped unharmed.

“My husband was saying that where she was there was stuff all around her. There was one little hole perfectly over her. I cannot explain that other than God. And that’s where the glory needs to go,” said Varner.

The family is thankful for the friends and strangers who helped clean up the property and the tree.

Sheriff Wade is just glad he was in the right place at the right time.

“People say, why do you get into law enforcement, why do you put up with all of that? Well, being able to help people in instances like that is the whole reason why you do it. We are glad she is OK and hopefully, they can find a way to restore their lives,” said Wade.

Varner said she was leasing the home with an option to purchase. She said it was nearly paid off. While she waits to learn what is next, she is looking on the bright side.

“I shouldn’t have made it out of there. I saw where I came out. My story doesn’t end here, it has just begun,” Varner continued. “I do know as long as I have my family, I don’t care where we go next. I don’t care if it is a cardboard box. I can’t believe God brought us this far to let us fall down. We will be fine and from the rubble, we will rise,” Varner said.

Family members are staying with loved ones until they find a solution.

Varner thanked Southeast Connections and Taylor Real Estate Solutions for sending help during the cleanup.


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