Nearly one year later, firefighter recalls close call during Nov - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Nearly one year later, firefighter recalls close call during November windstorm

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

Like a scene from a movie, the might of the November windstorm snapped power poles in half, creating an endless entanglement of hissing and sparking power lines.

Like dominoes, it toppled trees, pulling their roots from the ground.

And from the hands of an invisible giant, the siege ripped roofs off countless homes.

 Anyone who lived through the storm has a story to tell including the men and women who were on the front lines.

“One thing that was eerie was listening on the radio to the dispatchers,” said Spokane County Fire District 8 Division Chief, Tom Hatley. “Every time I come by here I think of that night.”

Hatley was responding to a small brush fire when, for the first time that night, time was on his side.

“Just as we were leaving the scene, I pulled out and that large tree came down right at that intersection of 29th and Glenrose right where my truck was parked.”

Hatley says if he would have stayed any longer, the tree would have fallen right on top of him.”

“From that point on I definitely look up a lot more,” said Hatley. “Not just to the trees, our heavenly father definitely looked down on me that day.”

In the midst of the chaos someone else was also watching out for Hatley.

“I missed many calls, many texts, I couldn't answer a lot of them.”

Hatley says one of the hardest things during the storm wasn't the close calls or the long hours, but instead not being able to talk to his wife.

“After that close call I did make a phone call to check in on her and let her know I was safe.”

Hatley says after that call, his phone died. He didn't talk to her until the next morning.

“Yeah I gave her a big hug and she gave me a big hug,” said Hatley. “She was scared for me all night.”

It's these stories we don't often hear. A firefighter leaving his family so that so many others during the storm could get to theirs.

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