From bad to worse
After house fire, tree crushes couple’s car
If all were right in the world of Tom and Cheryl Potts of Peabody, they would have ridden out Thursday’s storm in their 102-year-old two-story house at 612 N. Walnut St. in Peabody, and they still would have a car.
However, a December electrical fire rendered the house uninhabitable, forcing them to look for temporary living quarters.
“We were homeless for a while when our house burned up,” Tom Potts said. “We were in a homeless place for about two weeks, and then we stayed with my son for a bit.”
Tom, who is disabled and re tired, and Cheryl, who works in Marion, eventually moved into an apartment in the former Sharon’s Korner Kitchen building at Walnut and 2nd Sts. They parked their 1993 Honda Del Sol on 2nd St. to keep Walnut St. parking open for businesses.
As storms rolled in Thursday, the car was parked diagonally on the north side of 2nd St., partially underneath the limbs of a large Bradford pear tree, a variety susceptible to wind damage.
Swirling winds gusting to 75 miles per hour were too much for the tree to withstand. Breaking off at the trunk, it fell. Almost as perfectly as if it had been planned, it toppled lengthwise down the center of the Honda, crushing it.
“I looked out there, and the tree was down,” Potts said. “It’s the kind of luck I’m having. It couldn’t have clipped it. That’s the way it goes.”
The tree covered the car completely and blocked the north lane of 2nd St. A city crew that came to clear the debris didn’t realize a car was underneath until they tried to move it, Potts said.
“If you look at it now, it’s going the other way,” Potts said. “They screwed up the back of it real bad. It’s messed up anyhow, but that didn’t help it at all.”
The Potts also have a truck that Cheryl now uses to get to work, but “it gets really crappy mileage” and is not as good as the Honda, Potts said.
“The car was paid off, tagged, insured, and running great,” he said. “It’s a convertible. You can take the top off. I just put new tires on it, too.”
The Honda had only liability coverage, so for now the couple will have to make do with the truck.
Meanwhile, they don’t know when they will be able to move back to their fire-ravaged house. Before the fire the couple had invested about $20,000 to renovate the interior, Potts said.
“Then we had that fire and it destroyed all our efforts,” he said. “It burned the roof up, and there was a lot of smoke damage and water damage. We’re working on it all the time getting the fire damage out of it.”
Potts said he’s ready for his fortunes to change.
“It’s two bad turns in the past six months; it’s a little depressing,” he said. “I need some kind of good luck down the line. I’m running out of things to lose.”