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Branford Family Picking Up After Home Destroyed

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It’s been a week since severe storms tore through New Haven county and the memories for some are still fresh. Particularly among those whose homes were destroyed.

“I saw a tree pressed up against our house and the next thing you know the ceiling is cracking and falling on us,” said Grace Booth of Branford, who was recording the weather inside her family’s living room.

In the video, you can hear screams and then their lives were changed in an instant.

“I was cooking dinner the kids were in the living room, it was literally five seconds later the house collapsed on top of them,” said Jocelyn Booth, describing when a tree fell on their chimney, and the rubble fell into their house.  

“We didn’t know where our son was,” said Booth. “We were digging through sheetrock and insulation and we thought we were going to be lifting our son’s dead body off of the couch. All we could see was the glow of the computer he was using.”

Moments later, Grace found her brother in the kitchen on the other side of the house.

“When I made it to the kitchen, I saw him there and everyone was yelling, I kind of blanked out a little bit because it didn’t feel real,” said Grace.

Their home doesn’t have a basement so when they got the severe weather warning, they didn’t immediately run for cover. They say the part of the house they thought to go to was the bathroom, which was in the center of the home.

“It would have been the furthest away from any trees and that bathroom has been destroyed, so thank God we weren’t in there when it happened,” said Booth.

Everyone made it out safely, but they say there’s some emotional scarring as nightmares about that day persist. The Red Cross has declared the home a major disaster and offered them mental health and financial assistance.

Booth says she’s thankful for all the support they’ve received over the last week. The home was condemned by the town, and the family is staying with friends for now. They will soon move into a new temporary home.

“People have been reaching out from every part of our life,” she said. “From our childhood, from our town, from our places of employment, they just want to help us and it’s overwhelming. I have goosebumps.”

The says there are other people in town that have also suffered a similar fate, and she’s thinking of them as well.

The middle school special education teacher knew this school year would be different, but she never thought it would start with her taking two weeks off to get her family settled.

“As soon as we get settled in our temporary housing I’ll be back for sure,” said Booth.

They’re not sure what will happen with their current home, but there’s at least one lesson she’s taking away from this experience.

“One of the things that we’ve learned, that is absolutely going to be a necessity, is a basement. We need a plan for where our family can be safe should this happen again.”

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