Storm rips through Sunset Bay, dropping tree into home

IRVING, N.Y. (WIVB) — Mother Nature made herself known in Irving Tuesday afternoon.

“We see a couple of branches go by and then the big crack, boom! And then after that, it was just chaos,” said Steve Priester.

He’s been renting the same lakeside cottage in Sunset Bay for decades.

What started as a day at the beach with this family ended with all of them feeling lucky to be alive.

Just after 3 p.m., he and his son were heading back from the lake when they noticed dark storm clouds approaching; a neighbor decided to get her phone out.

“Because we were getting a big storm, I wanted to finally capture one of our big sandy windstorms that we get and it ended up being something more serious,” said Torri Gallivan, who lives nearby.

That something was a massive tree; a gust of wind ripped it from its roots and left it smack in the middle of the Priester’s cottage.

“The next thing we know, we’re ducking for cover and the whole entire inside of the cottage becomes a dust bowl,” said Steven’s son, Connor.

There were six people inside the cottage at the time, none of them were hurt.

“I was on the front steps, soon as we heard the big collapse, we tried to make it in,” Priester told News 4.

“We made sure everybody was safe, and made it to the back part of the cottage where there was’t as much damage, and thank God we’re all still here to talk about it,” he continued.

Of the storms the Priesters have seen in Sunset Bay, they say this one takes the cake.

“Seeing the size of the tree, it looks like it should have smashed the cottage a little bit more, so I’m definitely just thankful to walk out of there safe,” Connor Priester said.

“We’ve been here, coming to the same place for 30 years that we’ve been renting, and what’s going to happen from here, I don’t know,” said Steve.

See photos and video of the tree crashing into the home here, or click here if on the News 4 app. 

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