The light rain caused a small stream of water to run downhill into a sinkhole where three trees once rooted into the side of Tunnel Street. The trees, blown over in the storm Friday afternoon, gently rested against the roof of Isabelle Garrett’s house.
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Garrett was joined by her daughter, Marcy Stone, who lives in the house, and Stone’s daughter Elizabeth. Neighbors gathered as three El Dorado County firefighters surveyed the damage. Two large trees and a small tree had all fallen from the wind.
“It escaped severe damage,” Captain Scott Lewis told Garrett. “It hit that oak tree,” he said, pointing to a still-standing tree that had visible damage from the other tree striking it. “The pine tree went into the oak tree and slid down,” he motioned with his hands, recreating the two trees falling onto the house. “If it had hit directly, you would probably have three houses now,” he told Garrett.
The pine tree took with it a smaller tree behind it. The root system included another oak tree a few feet away, which also fell on the house, hitting a patio cover on one corner, causing it to sink. The roof seemed to sag a bit, but overall, the house seemed to escape major damage. The patio cover seemed more damaged than the roof.
While the firefighters, family and neighbors surveyed the damage, a PG&E worker was trying to fix power line that was in the line of the falling trees. He later told Garrett that a stronger anchor would be needed for the line, but once that was up, they should call the power company to get the line attached.
Two city workers appeared, trying to stem the flow of the rainwater into the newly-created sinkhole, but lacked the necessary amount of sandbags to do the job, hurrying off to get more.
Lewis also said that the trees falling would largely be the city’s problem, as the trees tore up part of the road and were planted on city property — just the other side of a small white fence from the house. He told Garrett that the city would send a crew out to chop the tree into firewood, which Garrett or her daughter could then use or give away, whichever they liked. Garrett excitedly indicated she would be keeping the firewood. Lewis said that, after that had taken place, the city would fix the road.
“When a neighbor called, I thought it was the big oak,” Nancy Stone said, referring to the tree the pine hit before falling to the roof.
“Trees fell, that was it,” laughed Garrett. Although she could not go into the house, she and her daughter and granddaughter did not appear worried about the damage, thankful that it could have been far worse if the oak had not broken the fall of the first pine.
Contact Cole Mayer at 530-344-5068 or [email protected] Follow @CMayerMtDemo.