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Backyard Campfire Gone Wrong: Men Dive to Escape Falling Tree

Two friends were enjoying a backyard campfire in Powhatan, Virginia last week, when a falling tree nearly crushed them. After hearing the tree’s roots cracking, the two men dove to safety in the split second they had to get out of the way.

The men, Chris Johannsen and Chad Day, told local news that the kids were in house while they prepped the campfire for some s’mores. As they were enjoying a quiet moment, the unthinkable happened.

A seemingly healthy, 40-foot tree in the yard came barreling down, crushing the chairs Johannsen and Day were sitting on. In footage from a security camera, you can hear cracking noises shortly before the tree falls into view. The men leap from their chairs and over a fence into the arms of a prickly bush, just in the knick of time.

After the tree falls, several children come out to see what’s happened. They’re confused and upset. Though scratched up from the bushes, Johannsen and Day dodged a fate much worse.

Avoid Widow Makers When Camping

Falling trees are hazardous no matter where you’re enjoying the outdoors—apparently even in your backyard. When camping, always set up your sleeping and living spaces away from dead or dying trees called “widow makers.”

Inspect trees that appear healthy, too, and always pay attention to your surroundings. As Johannsen and Day just learned the hard way, sometimes you have to be ready to act in the blink of an eye.

Watch the full security camera video here (contains explicit language).

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