Lucky to survive
By ADRIAN MILLER
THE ROAD to the Roots family property off Shark Creek Road is a beautiful scenic drive lined with eucalypts, tea-trees and stringybarks.
The property, two kilometres up the road, is a haven for Vicki Roots, husband Ken and their four children.
With chickens, hens, roosters, horses, goats, peacocks and a dog, the family has a majestic parcel of land nestled away from the rest of the world.
But their world came crashing down during the storm which hit the Maclean district on Thursday afternoon. When the storm struck Mrs Roots and the children huddled in a shed for shelter. The shed had been home while their house was being built.
The storm lasted only 15 minutes, but Mrs Roots and the children, aged from four to 14, were lucky to survive when a big hardwood tree crashed on to the shed, caving in a section of the roof.
"As the storm came up I thought I was overreacting by yelling at the kids and getting them underneath their bunk beds," Mrs Roots said.
"I threw pillows on them and then jumped on them with pillows as well.
"They were all screaming their lungs out and they were completely beside themselves."
Mrs Roots said she and daughter Chloe were cut as they scurried out the window to safety.
"I had to bash on the window to get it out and I cut my hand on all the jagged pieces," she said. "But poor Chloe, she had a big cut down her leg that needed a few stitches."
Mr Roots took shelter in a garden shed a few hundred metres away.
"The hail was flogging in from every direction and I couldn't see a thing until Vicki came out the front screaming," he said.
Mrs Roots said the family would have to live without water, electricity or a septic system until they could finish building their new house.
The family can be thankful the new family home escaped damage. They are now living in the partially completed house.
"We've still got to get the septic, solar panelling, rendering, verandah and extensions all done ? there's still miles to do," she said. "But we'll have to stay in it as is until it's finished."
Mrs Roots said the family was coming to grips with their experience.
"I've never been through anything so terrifying in my life," she said.