My sister and her husband Douglas had a mobile home on some property that my mom and dad owned. The trailer was already set up and they had been living in it when they decided that it was too high and wanted to lower it to build porches.
Doug’s family and our family, including Uncle Dale gathered to do the work and to lower it. Jacks, blocks, and a come-along; chains and pry bars; roller pipes and ropes all were laid out to use as needed. The first task was to remove the under-skirting. It was a dirty, splinter producing job. When it was done, we started to lower the trailer one section at a time. Bit by bit, until we could go to the next section. It was tedious and time consuming.
Dale said, “We can lower one side at a time, with the jacks in place. Slowly let the trailer down onto the shorter cinder block pillars. It will save a lot of time and trouble.”
It did save time. We placed the jacks along one side. We jacked them up until we could remove one set of blocks. When they were removed, we slowly lowered the trailer until it settled on the supporting blocks. It went well for the first time. We needed to remove one more set of blocks to have the height where they wanted their mobile home. Lining the jacks up along the length of the trailer, we got ready to lift the weight of the trailer off the piers and remove another set of blocks. I was the one under the trailer, pulling out the blocks. The jacks lifted the trailer. I am scooting around under the floor of the mobile home when we noticed that the trailer was moving sideways. That was not in our plans. I tossed one of the blocks back onto the pier just in time. The trailer moved several feet to the side and dropped about ten inches. I thought, “Here we go. I’m dead meat.”
The trailer settled on the last block I threw up, but not before it had folded me double. I thought I was going to be smashed, but was able to slide my upper body to the side and work my way out.
My mom and Rosemary, Doug’s mom, were sitting in the yard watching. When the building shifter, they jumped out of their seats and rushed to the side of the trailer. Neither one knew who was underneath, but they were trying to help and keep the trailer from tumbling on its side. Rosemary grabbed and tried to lift it and my mom pushed against the side. If I hadn’t placed that last block, probably both would have been crushed. My sister, Kathy says that a miracle occurred and believes that Rosemary and Mom were given strength to stop the accident from being a tragedy. I can’t say. I was underneath wondering why my head hadn’t gone through the floor of the mobile home.
What had happened to cause the accident? One of the jacks had been placed on softer ground, and the jack started to sink, throwing all of the others off and allowed to trailer to list to the side.
Dale used the come-along to pull the errant end of the trailer back onto the piers. I wasn’t underneath this time. The trailer was the right height and that was all of the work we did that evening.
It was time for me to go home. My shoulder was hurting and I couldn’t raise it. When the trailer came down and partially pinned me, it dropped onto my right shoulder and pushed me to the side or I might have been crushed.
Cindy, my wife decided she would drive us home. She was so upset that she backed down the berm instead of the highway when we left. We managed to get home safely, but she was still shaken up.
I wasn’t sure what happened to my shoulder, but with the pain and limited mobility, I decided to shower, get into some clean clothing and head for the emergency department. It was the hospital where I worked. I wasn’t going in dirty.
I drove. I wanted to get to the hospital and Cindy was still shaken. X-rays revealed nothing, but I think my shoulder was dislocated and spontaneously was relocated. I still have some range of motion issues and pain with that arm.