Mike Bazinet stands next to the 80-foot maple tree that fell in his backyard on Eaton Street in Lewiston recently. He was struck down when it landed on his vegetable garden where he was working at the time. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

LEWISTON — Mike Bazinet was picking cherry tomatoes in his garden recently when he missed being crushed by an 80-foot maple tree at his home on dead-end Eaton Street.

“We have had some strong winds and downpours recently where I watched that tree sway back and forth like a big crown of broccoli, and now it looks like parsley,” Bazinet said.

“It was a nice day and I was working in the garden and heard a crack and looked up and here comes the tree,” he said. “I froze for a second, screamed, and then backed up just enough so I only got knocked down by the top branches instead of being crushed alive.

“I have (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and it took my breath away,” he said. “I laid there catching my breath as my neighbors came running to see what happened. It was something I won’t soon forget.”

He escaped with minor scratches and bruises and the memory that keeps him up at night about what might have been.

While he is OK, his truck and garden didn’t fare so well.

“I have no idea how bad the damage to the truck is yet but know some of my plants won’t be doing so well being covered by the canopy,” the avid gardener said. “I can still get at some of our veggies but a lot is inaccessible.

“But talk about lucky, my wife Dot and I were shucking corn right under where a big branch came down just a little while before it came down,” he said. “She had just left to go to the grocery store.”

Because the tree isn’t on the property they’ve owned for a long time, Bazinet said he is looking to hire an attorney, but so far none have returned his messages. He said he hopes to salvage some vegetables and get his truck fixed.

“All and all I am thankful I wasn’t killed, but damn if that wasn’t the scare of a lifetime, and I still get shaken when I come out and see what could have been,” he said.

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