STORM: Strangers rush to help couple hit by storm
A LEICHHARDT couple is going through an emotional morning after more than ten people, some strangers, rushed to help them deal with a massive fallen tree that narrowly missed their house.
John and Judy-Ann Smith had no idea the storm that ripped through Ipswich had brought down the 12m high tree until John went outside, thinking to move his daughter's van parked at the side of the house.
When the storm had passed, John grabbed his chainsaw and started cutting the branches away.
Almost immediately his neighbour Dan came to help; Ben Whittaker from across the road arrived next and within minutes a small clean-up crew formed, going round to each home on Wills St in Leichhardt.
John and Judy-Ann have lived in the same house for more than 40-years and even though they have never met some of their neighbours, all rushed to help.
For John, the gesture was so touching that today he was lost for words on how to express his gratitude, holding back a few tears he said; "it's hard to explain the feeling. It's amazing."
"I just want to thank everyone who came to help us. It's nice to think people come to the rescue when something happens," Judy-Ann said.
Ben Whittaker was dealing with water damage at his own home across the road where one bedroom was badly affected.
Once he'd checked that his family were ok, he went straight out to help John and Judy-Ann.
"I didn't think twice about it, you help people who need helping," Mr Whittaker said.
"It's amazing how a disaster can bring everyone together."
Power was out on Wills St until 10pm with reports of lines down at the top of the street.
The street was particularly affected; this morning large piles of tree branches had been heaped on the kerb and council workers had already begun moving through the area with wood chippers.