Mom, 6 kids displaced after tree falls on home in storm

Family hopes for help from government, community

LAKE CITY, Fla. - A Lake City mother and her six children are still out of their home following a severe storm that hit the area over the weekend.

They're hoping to get some help after a tree smashed their home.

Up until Tuesday afternoon, Bonnie Denton and her children had been staying in a motel paid for by the American Red Cross. She said she now has nowhere to go and she's hoping the Federal Emergency Management Agency may provide some relief.

Unfortunately, her options are limited.

Denton said she never really saw herself as desperate, and she never believed she would be without a home. The single mother said she was inside her trailer when severe weather struck and a large tree came crashing down onto her roof. She said it was a terrifying moment.

"If that tree would have came in, we would have died," Denton said. "Look, it's on top of my roof. It's straight off my kids' room and my room."

Denton has no insurance and is now relying on her van for shelter and hoping for a new home. Her hope was that FEMA would be able to step in and provide assistance, but officials say that likely won't happen. The storm in Lake City does not meet the criteria to be considered a disaster, and a request for relief would need to come from the governor.

Denton knows her options are limited and she'll have to start over.

"I understand. I'm enough of a woman to understand that if I do get me a home, I have to start from the beginning, and I'm willing to work with that," she said.

She said she now waits for the phone to ring with news that she has a place to live. She worries for her children and says any kind of help would mean the world to her.

"I've never been like this in my life. I've never asked anybody for anything, but I would now because I don't know what to do," Denton said.

There are at least five other families in a similar situation after Saturday's storms. Emergency managers say Denton's best bet now is to reach out to local nonprofits in the community.

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