'We almost died!': Video shows 2 dads narrowly escaping falling tree in Virginia backyard

Two friends enjoying a spring night in Virginia jumped out of the way at just the right time to avoid being hit by a massive tree. Luckily, their children and wives were inside when the tree came crashing down.

POWHATAN, Va. – Two men in Virginia enjoying a spring night and preparing to make s'mores with their families narrowly avoiding being crushed by a massive tree.

Security video captured Chris Johannsen and a friend sitting by their outdoor fireplace on April 12 at this home in Powhatan when the 40-foot tree came crashing down. 


Both men quickly jump up upon hearing crackling and run to the right, dodging a potentially deadly hit. The tree landed on the two chairs where the pair had been sitting moments before.

"We almost died!" one of the men is heard saying.

The video shows debris from the tree floating in the air after the fall. 

Moments later, you can hear their children come out after being startled by the noise of the falling tree. 

"Dad, what was that?" one child says, followed by the exclamation of "Holy moly!"

Johannsen and his friend Chad Day said their families had been enjoying the fireplace about 5 minutes before the tree came crashing down. 

"We're getting the fireplace ready for s'mores for the kids. And then, we had sent the kids in to watch a movie, so we can enjoy a peaceful moment to ourselves," Chris Johannsen told FOX Weather. "And luckily, we had done that because we were, as you can see, we're just sitting down, sipping on a nice glass of bourbon, and then we hear ‘crack, crack, crack, crack.’ And so we look over and luckily there was a white tarp on the root ball, and we just saw the white tarp lifting. And, I looked at Chad, and luckily he followed me, and we drove over the wall into the rose bushes."

Day said they never saw the tree.

"We just heard the noise, never saw the tree because the noise came from the left and the right," Day said. "And if Chris had not noticed that he had put that tarp at the bottom of that root ball on that tree, we wouldn't be sitting here talking to you guys at all right now. It was him noticing that root ball raising up with that white tarp on it was the only reason that we made it over that that, little wall right there. Because if we had gone left or right and not forward, it was pancacked."

Neither man was injured during the incident. But Johannsen said they ended up diving into a thorny rose bush.

"I got thorns and scrapes all on my chest, but, there's a pretty big thorn bush that I landed on that," he said.


The weather was calm at the time of the collapse, but Johannsen said there was wind and rain earlier in the day.

"It was Friday. So, in my home watching The Masters and they had a lot of wind. So we're not too far north of that. So we're getting the same amount of wind," he said. "It's been raining a good amount, but the tree was healthy. And like, when it actually fell, it was as calm as it could be. If it was raining or windy, we wouldn't have been out by the fireplace."

He added when a tree removal service came to take it away, they said they didn't find any dead spots; the root ball just gave out.

"I was about to play music on the speakers, so 15 seconds later, music would have been playing. Or if the kids were out playing around and being loud, we might have not heard it. Or if it was windy, we might have not heard the crackling of the root system give way… And just to think like, if the tree did hit us, our kids would have been the first ones to find us."

"It was an intense moment that we went through on there for sure," Day added.