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Cigarette break saves US woman's life

Warning: Trees falling on your house can kill

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The pro-smoking lobby got a small boost on Monday after a South Carolina woman cheated death by nipping outside the house for a cigarette.

Brenda Comer, of Rock Hill, had just finished washing the dishes at around 11am when she popped out for a gasper. At that moment, The Seattle Times dramatically recalls, "an 80-foot-tall oak tree, felled by winds gusting up to 40mph, crashed through the roof".

The tree fell directly onto the sink where Comer had been washing up. Her daughter Amy, still inside the wrecked house, escaped unscathed. She recalled: "It sounded like the worst cracking sound you could imagine."

Brenda later told hubby Franky: "Honey, I know you fuss at me for smoking, but today it saved my life." ®

Bootnote

Years ago, I met an old timer who'd been an air warden in London during the Blitz. One night in 1940, he tried to get into a shelter* during a raid but was turned away because he was smoking. As he crossed the road, a bomb hit the building above, which collapsed. More than 170 people in the shelter were killed. Accordingly, whenever his doc suggested he really ought to cut out the cigs, he politely declined.

*Coronation Avenue, Stoke Newington. There's a eyewitness account of the tragedy here.

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