100-foot pine tree destroys police officer's home
JACKSON, NH (WGME) -- During Tuesday evening's blizzard the Jackson New Hampshire Fire Department received an emergency call of entrapment.
The address that they'd be responding to was all too familiar.
"The tone went out to respond to tree on a house with entrapment," Jackson New Hampshire Fire Chief Jason Henry said.
The address more scary than the weather.
"We knew it was Mike's house who is on the fire department," Henry said.
Mike Chapman is a Bartlett Police Officer and a Jackson firefighter.
Tuesday night, he had just finished having dinner with his wife and two children when he got called into work. Minutes later, he was told he was no longer needed for the call but then another one came in.
"I was on my way back and my wife, she was just screaming my name, she was just, she couldn't tell me what was going on," Officer Chapman said.
Within five minutes of Chapman leaving his family, a 100-foot pine tree had fallen onto his daughter's bedroom and ripped through the entire home.
"It was terrifying knowing my family was trapped inside," Chapman said.
Once on the scene of his own home, Officer Chapman says there were several live power lines down intertwined with the tree.
The only entrance into the home was the basement where his wife and two children instinctively went after hearing a loud crack. They were trapped inside.
"That was the right thing to do," Chief Henry said. "It [the tree] was probably five feet from the propane tank, from squishing the propane tank."
Luckily the family and their dog made it out safe. They also found their cat safe the next day.
"It's horrific," Chapman said. "It's like something out of a nightmare I never thought I'd go through something like this."
Both the Jackson and Bartlett communities refuse to let the Chapman family go through this alone.
Chapman says his phone has been ringing off the hook with people offering places to stay and offering support.
"It's a little different, I'm usually the guy guy that's helping people out when it happens to you," Chapman said. "Even thought I've done it as much as I have, I don't even know how to react I guess."
First thing Thursday morning, volunteer crews began removing the large pine tree and picking up several of thousands of pieces.
The home is a total loss.
"It feels great to be able to help just get everything done," Chief Henry said.
While the needles from the pine tree may sting now, Chapman says they'll make the best of the fresh start.
"I don't even know where to start it's a good that the community is supporting me and helping me," Chapman said. "It makes it worth living in and serving in."
There is a GoFundMe set up for the Chapman family.
The Bartlett Police Department is also accepting donations at:
Bartlett Police Department
C/O Michael Chapman
56 Town Hall Road.
Intervale, NH 03845