Cat's meow may have saved teen's life as tree falls on Chapel Hill home

Michael Perchick Image
Friday, October 12, 2018
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Elsie Baker said she heard her cat making noise, and looked outside. It may have saved her life.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- A Chapel Hill teenager left her bedroom just moments before a tree fell through her ceiling as Tropical Storm Michael moved through the Triangle.

Elsie Baker said she heard her cat making noise, and looked outside.

"I saw trees shaking, and lots of wind gusts rushing by. So I ran out of my room," Baker said.

Home alone with her cat and without power, Baker had to re-enter the room once the tree fell so she could grab her cell phone and call her parents.

"It wasn't as loud as I was expecting. When it actually did fall, it just made glass-breaking noises because of my room. But there wasn't a lot of factual - I didn't hear the tree crack," said Baker.

While she clearly saw her ceiling had caved in from the tree, it wasn't until she walked outside that she realized the scale of the damage.

"I didn't get the whole picture. I didn't notice that it was in another room. All I really saw that there was a lot of things coming down from my roof and my room," explained Baker.

She said several photographs and her curtains were damaged, and her new bed got very wet.

A tree limb also jutted through the ceiling of the room next to Baker's where her cat sleeps. Late Friday morning, a crew was able to pull that limb off.

Buckets were placed around both rooms to catch any water or falling debris the trees and corresponding construction knocked off.

It all pales in comparison to the most important thing - her safety.

"If I had just stayed in front of my window for at least two seconds more, I would probably be at least bruised," Baker said.

Baker stayed with a friend Thursday night, as power remains out.

Another tree fell in the back of the property, though it did not hit the home.