Mother and infant killed after tree crashes into house, 4 dead in Hurricane Florence

Credit: Bart Comstock / LSM

Authorities confirmed the first known deaths caused by Hurricane Florence Friday.

A mother and an infant were killed after tree fell on their house in Wilmington, North Carolina. The father, was recovered from the home and transported to New Hanover County Regional Medical Center for treatment of unspecified injuries.

A third victim, a woman in Pender County, suffered a heart attack Friday morning. Emergency first responders were unable to reach her in time due to unpassable roads. Debris blocked access to her home.

A fourth victim was killed in Lenoir County while plugging in a power generator.

"Our hearts go out to the families of those who died in this storm," North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said in a press release. "Hurricane Florence is going to continue its violent grind across our state for days. Be extremely careful and stay alert."

At a news conference, Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous said a mother and her approximately 8-month-old infant were killed after a tree fell onto the house, crushing them.

Despite what Evangelous described as an “intense” multi-agency rescue effort, the mother and child died before they could be removed from the home. Their identities have not been released.

“The rescue effort was so intense that a FEMA task force that had been pre-deployed to the area assisted with the recovery effort,” said Wilmington Fire Department Chief Steve Mason.

According to Mason, the victims were trapped by both the very large tree and pieces of the roof of the house.

“It was not something you could cut with a chainsaw and remove,” he said.

Officials stressed that conditions in the area remain dangerous and the public should stay off the roads. They also urged residents not to contact 911 with non-emergency matters. A curfew has been imposed in New Hanover County from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. until further notice.

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