The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Storm delays Spotsylvania couple’s honeymoon
Michael and Daphne Quear expected to be on their honeymoon in Key West today. The view outside of their window should be the ocean.
Instead, the newlyweds are gazing at the blue tarp still covering the back of their Spotsylvania County home, which was damaged in last weekend’s microburst.
Michael said that when they returned from their weekend wedding at Alwyngton Manor in Warrenton last Sunday evening their attic had fallen into their bedroom of their Spotswood Estates residence.
“We pulled into the neighborhood and saw the debris,” he said. “We knew we had this big, gigantic oak tree in the backyard but thought maybe not us. We pulled around the corner and saw the tree leaning on our house.
“The neighbors came over and braced us for what we were going to see in the backyard. The entire back of the house caved in,” Michael said.
Their house is still being dried of water from the storm, and reconstruction has yet to begin.
Michael said that this process could take up to four months and will include replacing the roof and rebuilding a quarter of the house.
The house, at the corner of Redwood and Rosemont streets, was just part of the damage to the Four-Mile Fork area. The straight-line winds, hail and thunderstorm collapsed a warehouse building that housed a cheerleading center, ripped the roof off a strip shopping center and damaged new and used vehicles at nearby car dealerships.
The Quears’ neighborhood off Lafayette Boulevard was littered with uprooted trees, branches and fallen power lines following the microburst.
“We haven’t really had time to reflect on the wedding and how fun it was,” he said.
They also will not be visiting family who could not make it to the wedding this week.
The couple has lived in the Fredericksburg area for about eight years and Michael’s family is primarily in Pennsylvania.
They have not been able to look at any of their wedding presents, either. The packages, which they expected to be able to open at home, were given to Daphne’s parents for safekeeping, since they needed to use their car to store belongings.
“We have no clue what we got,” Michael said.
He also said that their bedroom furniture was not salvageable. Neither are some of Daphne’s clothes, which they found wet and full of fiberglass from shredded insulation.
However, the neighborhood came together to make sure the Quears have what they need at home.
Having moved into the house just last November, they said that they did not know their neighbors well, but were amazed by the lengths people went to in order to let them know what had happened and help out.
They said that their neighbors have cooked them dinner and given them gift cards to restaurants over the last week.
Neighbor Lamont Eubanks said it was a scramble trying to reach them after the storm.
“We came out and saw that the tree hit the house,” he said. “We took pictures and tried to reach them. It’s messed up.
You get married on Saturday and come home Sunday to this. We just tried to give them support. It’s all a neighbor can do.”
While the neighbors have been supportive, Quear said that the storm didn’t bring out the best in everyone. The number of tree-removal crews trying to get cleanup jobs was out of hand.
“It’s really remarkable the amount of solicitation in a crisis,” he said. “Daphne’s crying in the front yard and they’re handing out business cards to us.”
He said that work crews drove around their neighborhood for two days looking for business, and people came by their house asking what was going to happen to the wood from the tree on their house.
He said that one group said they were sent by the insurance company when they were not.
The couple is staying positive, though.
Michael said the good news from their contractor is that the age of their house meant it was sturdier than the new construction in the area. It stood up better to the fallen tree than others might have.
“It’s not just us,” he said. “There are plenty of affected homes. We just happened to have the biggest tree.”
Lindley Estes: 540/735-1976