Two Parents In Fair Condition After Powerful Fredericksburg Storm
Heath Mullins has numerous injuries after a wall fell on him at at Cheer Fusion. He rushed kids into safety before the incident and his mother said the kids are calling him a hero.
Heath Mullins, 38, has numerous injuries, including two broken bones in his back, a seriously injured knee, broken left ankle, broken toes on his right foot, multiple lacerations that needed stitches, and a small piece of debris penetrated his right wrist causing numbness, said his mother, Donna Mullins.
The building's roof tore off during the storm.
"The wall fell on him," Donna Mullins said on her way to Mary Washington Hospital, where Mullins and another parent, Michelle Smith, are both in fair condition. Smith's injuries are not known at this time.
Donna Mullins said her son and another father yelled for the kids to get into another room when they noticed rain coming through the windows and then the bay garage doors peeled up.
"Heath said he saw the wall falling so he started running," she said. "He was lucky the roof blew and it was just cinder blocks falling. He was able to pull himself out and then he couldn't go anywhere."
"We think he is a hero, absolutely," Donna Mullins said. "Connie, the studio owner, says he saved the kids. The kids love him. He is like their big brother. He's a cool guy."
Mandi Spina, the cheerleading director at Cheer Fusion, returned to the scene this morning. She said about a dozen kids were inside and about 10 parents when the storm hit. The cheerleading team was having a raffle and she said that one of the prizes, a 42-inch Vizio television, was brought in that day and likely destroyed in the storm damage. She said they were also building a new parent room upstairs that was destroyed. About a quarter of the building still stands, and it happened to be where the children ran to safety.
"This is just crazy. I've never seen anything like this," said Debbie Carter, the mother of Cheer Fusion Tiny Coach Brittany Carter. Carter said the gym is getting an outpouring of community support, with people offering temporary gym space and donations.
"The last girl out, her shirt was white and it was completely black when she came out," Brittany Carter said.
A total of seven people were injured, but Smith and Mullins were the most-serious injured victims of the storm, fire and rescue officials said.
Fredericksburg City Councilman Matt Kelly is an insurance adjuster with Loudoun Mutual and he was at the scene this morning because the company covers the structures owned by John Bettis. His home at 1040-1 Lafayette Blvd. was destroyed by the roof from 86 Fleming St. at Cheer Fusion.
"I've never been through anything like this," John Bettis said, as he went inside his home for the first time since the storm. "My wife was in the living room. She looked out the front door and she hollered for me. By the time we met, everything started falling in on us. The furniture was turned all upside down."
John Bettis is staying with his son, Robert Bettis.
"Nothing in that house is in the same place it was," Robert Bettis said.
Spotswood Estates Hit Hard
Neighbors in the subdivision of Spotswood Estates of Laurel Avenue were out chainsawing tree limbs and clearing debris after dozens of felled trees crushed vehicles and hit homes.
"This is a mess out here," said Willie Pickens of 408 Butternut Dr. "I've got to give Dominion the greatest credit in the world because they got power back on within four hours. This is worse than Isabel."
Pickens' neighbor, Greg Simmons, had a large tree toppled near his front porch. They were outside chatting while Simmons ate a bowl of Frosted Flakes cereal Simmons said a tree in his backyard fell on his house during Hurricane Isabel.
"I've got two chainsaws. We'll take care of the neighborhood," Simmmons said. "Anytime your neighborhood is a tourist attraction, that's not good."
Rebecca and Dan Webster of 3 Johnquil Ct. have two vehicles heavily damaged by fallen trees in their front yard.
"With the hail and the rain, it was a downpour. At that point, you really don't hear much of anything," she said. "We lived in California and our house got hit by a mudslide in 2008. We bring the bad weather. We'll never move to an island."