‘I was thinking I’m going to die today’: Woman trapped after porch collapses on her


CHAMPION TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WJW) — A Trumbull County woman says she is fortunate to be alive after a falling tree caused her second floor porch to collapse.

Sixty-two-year-old Rhonda Fonce called 911 and told the dispatcher “my porch just collapsed, the tree fell on my porch, I’m under my porch roof.”

Fonce said she had just walked to the back porch of her home in Champion Township on Tuesday afternoon when a large section of a tree in her back yard broke off and slammed down on top of her second floor porch.

Fonce was knocked to the ground and was trapped in a small space created when a small wicker table took the brunt of the collapsing porch.

“I was thinking I’m going to die today, literally, today’s going to be the day I die and what a weird way to die,” she said.

Fonce believes the small wicker table more than likely saved her life.

“That edge, that little wicker thing, kept the back of the roof up and I was luckily right beside it and purely by the grace of God, I’m here,” she said.

Rhonda’s neighbor, Glenn Burnett, heard the tree crashing to the ground and went to investigate. He heard Rhonda’s voice and then saw her legs under the porch and the tree. He was able to dig out a section of grass, which allowed Rhonda to crawl out from under the shattered porch.

“He is a wonderful neighbor, he risked his life really to pull me out because we didn’t know what was going to happen next and I had told him, `leave me alone, it’s not safe,` and he said `nope, nope, I’m going to get you out of there.'”

Rhonda Fonce believes the section of tree that fell had been weakened by high winds on Monday night. She says another large branch on the same tree fell two years ago.

Her family believes it’s a miracle that she was not killed or more seriously injured on Tuesday.

“I’m just truly thankful to God that she’s okay, truly thankful, my whole family is,” said Rhonda’s sister, Karen Vitale.

“Other than a few bumps and scrapes and you know, I’m here,” said Rhonda. “Yesterday was a lucky day, it wasn’t an unlucky day.”

Fonce says she will not take any more chances and plans to have the rest of the tree cut down.

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