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November 22, 2013
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Falling pine tree obliterates Nevada City house

A large 48-inch diameter Ponderosa Pine tree fell on a Nevada City house, utterly destroying it, at 9:30 a.m. Friday morning.

“It looks like a bomb went off inside it,” said Nevada County Consolidated Fire District Battalion Chief Jerry Funk. “It’s one of the worst destroyed houses I’ve seen in a long time.”

The house is occupied by two adults and four children, none of whom were at home at the time of the crash.

“The tree fell right through my kid’s bedroom,” said Sarah Johnson, who rents the home at Winding Way off of Banner Lava Cap Road on Banner Mountain. “The tree is on top of my kid’s bed.”

Johnson woke up in the morning and saw the tree leaning, called her landlord, collected her dog and went to work.

The huge ponderosa fell before the landlord could deploy a professional tree cutter.

“My cat is somewhere in that house,” Johnson said, tearfully.

Her belongings were scattered throughout as she began the process of salvaging possessions.

“We’re just waiting for the Red Cross,” Johnson said.

Consolidated Fire firefighters stationed at Station 86 just down the road arrived a couple minutes after the call to see smoke emitting from the debris, as the tree crushed a wood stove that was still burning.

“The guys had to cut into the tree, climb down there and put the fire out,” Funk said.

There was a separate fire caused by an electric stove that also had to be quelled.

The Sierra Foothills have been wracked by high wind gusts beginning Thursday and continuing throughout the morning and early afternoon Friday.

The rain that fell on the region Tuesday through Wednesday served to loosen the soils, making the high winds more dangerous, said Tom Dang, forecaster with the National Weather Service.

To contact Staff Writer Matthew Renda, email mrenda@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.


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The Union Updated Nov 24, 2013 09:54AM Published Nov 27, 2013 08:25AM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.