MADISON, AL —
The latest California storm has taken a terrible turn for some in the city of Madison, Alabama. A Madison woman was killed during a freak accident at the Safari West Wildlife Preserve near Santa Rosa, California. A tree fell on a tent, killing 70-year-old Gayle Falgoust.
Falgoust was reading a book to her granddaughter when the tree fell. The little girl survived, but sadly, Falgoust did not.Two men who tried to help the grandmother are telling their story. The woman's son talked with WHNT NEWS 19, and a neighbor reacts to what happened."If God did not think we were strong enough to do it, he would not have put the situation in front of us, so we did not really think," said rescuer Brian Creeks.The situation put in front of the Creeks family on a wild and stormy night at an animal preserve in Sonoma County could have saved the life of a little girl. It certainly comforted her grandmother in the final moments of her life."We heard a huge crack, and thought it was lightning we then heard screaming," added Creeks.A 50-foot huge oak tree had fallen on a luxury tent cabin of 70-year-old Falgoust and her seven-year-old granddaughter while they were reading stories together.The Creeks say Falgoust was trapped on the bed. The granddaughter was not hit, but definitely hysterical."We had to cut through the canvas to cut the girl out, and no one had a knife. A man next door had these little tiny foldable scissors that we got and kind of stabbed holes, started cutting, but ended up ripping it apart," added Creeks.It was dark and wet. No one knew what could have happened next. The little girl went back to the Creeks' cabin to play with Brian's little brother. She kept asking about her grandmother, who was fighting to hold on."We just kept telling her that help was coming, and her granddaughter was okay and we are here. Not too long after that, she was unconscious, and then she passed away," said the other rescuer Bill Creeks."This wasn't a stable situation at this point, it was windy, rainy, and they did not know if the tree was stable. They actually risked their lives to get in there and get the seven-year-old granddaughter out, and comfort the woman as she was dying," said Sonoma County Sheriff's Office Captain Matt McCaffrey.Falgoust's family drove up from Los Angeles to pick up the little girl after a night no one will ever forget.Back in Madison, Dale Davis is Falgoust's neighbor."That to me was very shocking. The death was shocking, but the way she died was even more shocking," said Davis.Falgoust's son, Greg Morgavi, also lives in Madison. He was too upset to go on camera, but did talk to us on the phone."The last thing the family thought would have happened to her would be a tree falling on her in a freak accident like this," said Morgavi.Morgavi said his mom was a true fighter. Falgoust survived breast cancer nearly 11 years ago and even Hurricane Katrina in 2005.