PLEASANT HILL (KPIX 5) – A quiet neighborhood in Pleasant Hill awoke to discover a section of a massive oak tree fell and crushed several vehicles early Thursday morning.
Residents living on the 100 block of Hardy Circle said the branches fell around 12:30 a.m. The tree, nicknamed “Emma” is reportedly more than 300 years old.
“At first I thought it was an earthquake,” said Marianna Rumpf, who lives across from the tree. “I thought there was a really bad accident.”
Six vehicles were crushed under tons of oak logs, branches and tree parts. Two of the vehicles belonged to Dave Wahle, whose home is directly in front of the tree.
“These are my two work vehicles that I use,” said Wahle, a carpenter by trade. “It’s just devastating.”
Luckily, Wahle’s employer Astonishing Construction told him not to worry; they supplied him with a new truck for him to take to work.
The tree was also located in front of Audra Cudd’s home. “As you can see, no rain, perfect conditions, no wind,” Cudd told KPIX 5.
“It just made a sudden crack, like someone hit a baseball with a wooden bat, that kind of sound, and then a big slam. You heard it hit the ground,” the homeowner went on to say.
Hudson Puente, the chief arborist and CEO of Bridgewood Tree Care Services, came to inspect the tree. He said it was “hundreds” of years old.
“There’s a marker on the tree, says it’s a heritage tree, probably here since the founding of the city of Pleasant Hill,” said Puente.
Residents correctly feared that their homes are still in danger. Puente said that properties in the area are still at risk, especially Dave Wahle’s home.
“The house is definitely within the drop zone, and based on the position of the tree, the house is at high risk,” said Puente.
City crews cleared the street, but they have yet to clear the branches and crushed cars as of Thursday. The work to clean up the entire mess will take days.
There were no reports of injuries, but arborists said that the tree is still a hazard.