Not so Goodnight Irene: Tree Totals Lisa’s Home

The sound woke Nicholas and Lisa Badart just after 3 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 28. You know Lisa as the course registrar for Applied Technology Institute. “I heard this rumble, and then a creaking noise, and I was half asleep, and I thought, ‘Oh no,’ and the whole roof came in,” said Nick Badart. Seconds later […]

The sound woke Nicholas and Lisa Badart just after 3 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 28. You know Lisa as the course registrar for Applied Technology Institute.

“I heard this rumble, and then a creaking noise, and I was half asleep, and I thought, ‘Oh no,’ and the whole roof came in,” said Nick Badart.

Seconds later the family was trapped by their champion ash tree. It was the second largest white ash in the country with a 9 foot diameter. Whipped by the heavy overnight winds of Hurricane Irene, and destabilized because of saturated soil, the award-winning, 300-year-old ash tree in the front yard of Badart’s historic home in the Lawyer’s Hill area of Elkridge had uprooted – and came smashing into the second-story bedroom.

Lisa was pinned to the bed, under the ceiling fan, surrounded by drywall, insulation, and 4” x 6” beams from the ceiling. Lisa realized that 2 feet or so from the edge of the bed was one trunk of the prize winning ash and the roof and ceiling were gone. If it had shifted about 3 foot feet, it would have been fatal. Lisa couldn’t move at first, because the fan was on top of her. Wind and rain came swirling into the room.


Cell phones and flashlights. You gotta love them. Lisa called 911. Rescue was there within 15 minutes. They had to signal with flashlights to determine where each group was located. The rescue personnel had to crawl over and under the massive tree to free the Badarts. Fortunately the whole family, including two dogs and several cats, escaped with minor injuries.

Lisa said “ I’m as much a junkie for hurricane forecasting as anyone and had watched the satellite pics on The Weather Channel, local news, and NASA links (http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hurricanes/archives/2011/h2011_Irene.html) as Hurricane Irene moved her way toward the mid-Atlantic. Last Friday, “just to be safe” she made preparations in the ATI office “in case” something would prevent business as usual on Monday.” In fact, ATI was without power for 3 days. Lisa calmly worked on Monday from her temporary hotel suite checking emails and sending confirmation letters.

Repair of the house could take up to nine months. Periodically we will post updated pictures on the blog.