Marcella Mrnka’s son said her house was “killer” after visiting his mom’s brand new home in Youbou for the first time. Little did he or his mom know how much truth this statement held.
Situated on the side of a steep hill at 1079 Arbutus Road, Mrnka’s three storey house was victim to a falling Douglas fir tree on Jan.4. The tree came crashing down upon the top of the house, entering Mrnka’s bedroom, planting itself only a few feet from Mrnka’s bed.
Mrnka said her first reaction was total shock.
“I was like, ‘are you kidding me? A tree fell on my house?’”
However, shock quickly turned to sorrow for Mrnka.
“I was pretty upset. I totally cried. This is my house. Everything I’ve worked for my entire life.I was working two full time jobs to afford this mortgage,” said Mrnka.
Luckily Mrnka was in Victoria at the time of the storm and was not inside the house.
“If I had been here I would never walk into this house again. I can’t imagine how freaky it would have been. I’ve had stuff fall on the roof when we’ve had big storms and that’s scary enough,” said Mrnka.
The tree that struck her house was found to be rotten. Mrnka said that had the tree been healthy it would have decimated the entire house — not just the roof — likely making it completely uninhabitable.
“The insurance people came through here today and said that had that been a healthy tree, you would not have most of your house. It would have taken out the entire side of this house. They figured it would be uninhabitable and that it would have came straight through the house and chopped it in two,” said Mrnka.
Mrnka is covered by insurance so she will not incur any financial loss in the incident. Mrnka did note, however, that the tree that came crashing down was located on a neighbour’s property, not her own so she is fully covered. Marnka has yet to make contact with her neighbour over the ordeal. The insurance company has not yet given Mrnka an estimate on the damage but the repairs could cost thousands upon thousands of dollars.
Mrnka said the tree measured between 80 and 100 feet. When Mrnka moves back in, she plans to have other rotten trees in the vicinity removed.
The disaster struck at an unfortunate time, as strife is already enveloping other areas of Mrnka’s personal life. Her father, Mickey is battling cancer in Victoria. To top that off, Mrnka is in the process of wrapping up a master’s degree in counseling psychology in the province’s capital, as well, through a program offered by the City University of Seattle.
“It’s kind of a lot right now,” said Mrnka.
She’s also currently working as a registered social worker in Duncan, operating her own practice, called S.A.F.E. after being laid off from a non-profit organization.
Belfor Property Restorations, the company contracted by Crawford Claims to fix Mrnka’s house said that it would be approximately eight to 10 days for repairs.
For now, Mrnka will stay at friends’ houses and commute to Victoria until the repairs are complete. She will move back into her home following the completion of repairs but said the incident has made her think twice about where she’s living.