Hemphill man still looking for help after tree fell on his mobile home

HEMPHILL, TX (KTRE) - An East Texas man said for the last 10 months, he has been living without a living room and a kitchen. Last December, a large tree fell on his mobile home. He said he called the National Forest Service two months before the tree fell on his house. He said he told them the tree was going to fall.

Raymond Johnston no longer has a living room and kitchen, so for the past 10 months he's had to adjust to a new way of living.

"It's rough. It takes everything I draw just to eat out," Johnston said.

Without a kitchen to cook in Johnston has been using his social security money to buy three meals a day.

"No stove is what makes it bad," Johnston said.

The Hemphill man said last December a large tree fell on his mobile home and caused this damage.

"It happened about 2 o'clock in the morning. I just heard a big bang," Johnston said. "Two months before it fell I went over there and talked to them and told them it was going to fall. They sent two foresters out here and they looked at it and said it's alright."

A National Forest Service spokesperson said the tree was not dying so it was not cut down.
Since the tree fell on his home, Johnston has sent three claims to the forest service attempting to show proof of ownership and estimates for the cost of damages.

"If I get some money, I'm going to replace it," Johnston said.

But the office of general counsel recently sent Johnston a letter denying his proof of ownership of the mobile home. The 78-year-old widower said he bought the 4 acres of land in Sabine County, and then bought the mobile home from a friend 18 years ago.

"They just said I couldn't prove it was my trailer and we went to Austin to try and get proof of it," Johnston said.

He is hopeful to have his claim settled before colder temperatures arrive.

"I have three electric heaters. I guess I'll use them again this winter," Johnston said.

A forest service spokesman told East Texas News he cannot discuss the claim, because it is still an ongoing litigation. They are working out the details with Johnston to prove ownership of the land and of the mobile home. Johnston has a lawyer now to help him with his claims and has even reached out to state and federal officials for help.

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