N.C. Mom and Infant Among First Fatalities of Hurricane Florence After Tree Falls on House

Maura Hohman

Hurricane Florence has claimed two lives since it made landfall in North Carolina on Friday morning, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.

As a result of the storm’s 90-mile-per-hour winds and 10-foot storm surges, a tree fell through the roof of a Wilmington, North Carolina, home with a family of three inside at about 9:30 a.m. on Friday.

Two people, a mother and her 8-month-old infant, were killed in the incident, officials with the Wilmington Police Department confirmed in a statement to PEOPLE. The father was taken to the hospital with injuries.

About a third of the one-story brick house was destroyed in the crash.

Hurricane Florence hits Wilmington, North Carolina

The Wilmington police and fire departments, as well as a FEMA task force that had been previously deployed to the area responded to the incident, said Steve Mason, deputy chief of Wilmington Fire Department, in a press conference Friday afternoon. According to NBC’s Lester Holt, a trauma surgeon was also sent to the scene in case an amputation for the father’s injuries was necessary.

Two other deaths have been reported as a result of Hurricane Florence. North Carolina’s governor’s office said a person died while plugging in a generator, and a woman in Pender County died after suffering a heart attack, according to assistant county manager Chad McEwan. Emergency crews were initially unable to get to her home due to debris from the storm blocking the road. Once they arrived, she was deceased.

Hurricane Florence hits Wilmington, North Carolina
Hurricane Florence hits Wilmington, North Carolina

The center of Hurricane Florence‘s eye made landfall around 7:15 a.m. EST Friday morning near Wrightsville Beach on the North Carolina coastline. The slow-moving storm, which was originally projected as a Category 4 hurricane, hit as Category 1 storm, CNN reported.

Hurricane Florence hits Wilmington, North Carolina

Florence is expected to linger over the Carolinas for another day, Today reported, dropping upwards of 40 inches of rain.

“This is an uninvited brute who just won’t leave,” Gov. Roy Cooper told the outlet on Friday. “We have a significant storm surge that’s pressing against a big river with historic rains on top of that. That water has nowhere else to go… Even when the storm moves through, the rivers will continue to rise. We can’t be complacent when the sun comes out because this rain is going to increase the levels of our rivers, some of them predicted to get to historic levels. We know there will be flooding in the weeks after the storm.”

Cooper went on to say that there are almost 20,000 people in 157 shelters across the state, and that 350,000 people have lost power. “We know that number is rising as we speak. And we know that people will be without power for days, and sometimes maybe for weeks.”

On Friday morning, more 60 people were forced to evacuate a hotel after part of the roof collapsed, CNN reported.