KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — An elderly Knoxville widow is pleading for someone to help fix her damaged home in the Lonsdale community. A tree fell on it the same day as a tornado swept through West Knoxville.
Fortunately, the owner was not home when the bad weather hit. The storm was so violent in early August, that it blew down a big tree next to Rosa Paschal’s place in the Lonsdale community, where she’s lived for over 20 years. The tree fell on her house, splitting it in half.
“This is the gutter. It came off the house, up to the top,” said Paschal.
Paschal’s house is badly damaged. A blue tarp covers a huge hole where the roof caved after a tree smashed into the side of the house on August 7. Inside are shattered beams, scattered installation, and what is left of Pachal’s belongings.
“Everything is down on my bed. If I was in there, I don’t think I would have lived through it,” said Paschal.
There is a hole in the ceiling of a smaller bedroom next to the master bedroom. Her kitchen cabinets were pulled away from the wall as a result of the tree’s violent fall. The whole ceiling collapsed.
Paschal said her late husband always managed the details regarding their home. He died in 2014 and they had everything paid off on the house. However, she does not have homeowner’s insurance.
“No, I did not have it. He had it but at the time, I didn’t know how to go through the paperwork and all,” said Paschal.
Her daughter was in tears when she saw the extensive damage to her mother’s home.
“Wow! I’m glad she wasn’t in the house because everything would have fallen on top of her, if she was in the house. I’m like, what is she going to do. This is all she has. Right now, she is basically homeless,” said Melody Winton, Rosa’s daughter.
The only thing left of the toppled tree that hit her house is this stump. It’s on the property next to her home where two mobile homes are going up. The tree also hit the trailer closest to her home.
“This is a new trailer in it’s place. But the tree, when it hit, it hit the one they tore down, it hit it on the front end and straight into my house,” said Pashal.
The damage to Mrs. Pashal’s house happened on August 7. The same day a tornado swept through West Knoxville and the Lovell Crossing Apartment complex. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved disaster relief for Knox County and 9 other counties just recently. However, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency said individuals cannot apply to repair damage to their homes like Paschal’s.
“I just want my house back. I want to feel good. At the age of 68, please help me,” said Pashel.
Since Paschal is unable to live in her home, she’s been staying with friends and family since August 7. The major disaster declaration approval for Knox County and nine other counties makes federal funding available to local governments and to certain private nonprofit organizations for emergency work and repairs. No relief money goes to individuals. Paschal said she’ll continue to live with friends, hoping eventually to move back into her home, if it can be repaired.