Man survives after tree falls on his lap in Renton apartment building


RENTON, Wash. — Authorities say a man is recovering after being pinned under a tree that fell on an apartment building in Renton Sunday morning.

It happened at about 7:15 a.m. at a six-unit apartment building on 196th Avenue near Shadow Lake.

Puget Sound Fire says the tree measured 200 feet long. It crashed into the man’s living room while he was sleeping on his couch. The man, who is in his 60s, was trapped for about 90 minutes before crews were able to free him.

Efren Garcia of All Seasons Tree Service and Roofing was hired to remove the tree after the rescue. “[Rescue crews] had to cut walls to get to him. They couldn’t even open his door because he was pinched.”

The tree was crushing down on his lap, but somehow missed vital parts of his body.

“He couldn’t be in a better spot,” said Garcia. “It missed his head. He was just lucky.”

The man was released from the hospital in satisfactory condition, according to a spokesperson with Harborview Medical Center.

Martin Tulare of Cascade Crane saw the man after he was released.

“He said his bones weren’t broken, but he was badly bruised and you could tell he was in a lot of pain. He was hobbling around in his cane and sock feet, and he just wanted to go inside and get some shoes. Can’t say I blame him.”

Chief Meteorologist Walter Kelley said a cold front came swinging through Sunday morning and within it a thunderstorm that contained gusty winds reaching up to 45 miles an hour. It was clearly too much for the tree to handle, destroying an apartment building that was home to six households.

Emergency crews from King County and Seattle responded to the scene. Officials say they are working with other residents who were displaced by the fallen tree.

Garcia said the tree appeared to be in healthy shape, and believes the saturated ground and gusty winds brought it down.


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