Toppling Tree Traps Man, Displaces Three Others in Echo Park

Monday, December 23, 2019

One man was briefly trapped, two neigbors escaped unharmed and third was displaced, after a large tree fell in Echo Park early Monday.

The Los Angeles Fire Department was summoned at 7:53 AM on December 23, 2019 to the 1300 block of Laveta Terrace, where a large hillside tree had suddenly toppled, trapping a man who had been living near the base of the tree. The tree continued to fall, downing high voltage electric wires and severely damaging the tile roof and upper floor of a two story descending hillside residential duplex

Neighborhood firefighters responding to investigate the incident, were first to discover the trapped homeless man, and quickly requested additional LAFD personnel, including specially trained and equipped LAFD Urban Search & Rescue teams.

Guiding the additional responders to check the nearby duplex, first arriving crews worked diligently with a chainsaw to create a rescue path to the man, who was pinned by the heavy tree trunk. 

Within minutes, the 50 ton capacity extended boom of an LAFD Heavy Rescue unit was skilfully used in a crane-like fashion to lift the massive tree, so that the man - who amazingly exhibited no major injury, could be be extricated and examined by LAFD Paramedics. The man declined offered ambulance transport to an area hospital, and was released at the scene.

A man and woman occupying the easternmost residential duplex narrowly escaped unharmed, when the falling tree all-but-destroyed the room they had occupied, continuing on to cause somewhat less damage to the westernmost unit, which was unoccupied when damaged. 

As Department of Water and Power crews secured the energized wires, Inspectors from the City's Department of Building & Safety assessed the damaged dwellings, determining the westernmost unit to be "red tagged" as unsafe for any manner of occupancy, while deciding that the easternmost unit met "yellow tag" criteria, permitting the resident to have brief supervised entry to gather essential belongings, but barring tenancy until necessary repairs can be completed.  

No other injuries were reported.

Though rain and wind had occurred in the area before the tree fell, the Los Angeles Fire Department does not formally detemine the cause of trees toppling.

Dispatched LAFD Units: BC11 E11 E20 E203 E220 E227 E27 E3 EM11 HR3 RA20 RA3 RA827 T20 T27 T3 UR27 UR88

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