Tree trouble: After tree falls on home, couple struggles to recover (PHOTO GALLERY)
Creekside Village Mobile Home Park residents Barbara and husband Ralph Magliocca have been going through tough times, and that was before a 500-year-old oak tree crashed into their home last April, destroying their only vehicle and causing over $25,000 in damage.
Barbara, a 60-year-old certified nursing assistant who works at Golden Empire Nursing and Rehab Center, had been taking care of her 66-year-old husband Ralph, who has been in and out of the hospital for two years and was recuperating from a surgery, when the oak tree came down.
“It was horrible,” Barbara Magliocca said. “I almost lost him that day the tree fell. If he didn’t hear it he would have been crushed.”
Her husband had noticed the tree leaning a few days prior after a storm in which a tornado warning was issued passed through Penn Valley.
“Ralph kept saying that the limb was going to fall,” Barbara said. “Well look what happened, the entire tree fell.”
“I knew it was coming down on me,” Ralph said when he had heard a big crack come from the tree.
“So I rolled out of my arm chair and out of the way. One limb just missed my leg.”
A tree removal crew spent the next few days dismantling the old growth oak tree while the Maglioccas — and their cats — were taken in by the couple’s daughter.
After the tree was removed, 1/3 of the mobile home was in shambles and their Chevy truck sat crushed.
According to the Maglioccas, they had been in contact with park managers Gary and Sharon Lewis about the danger the tree posed far in advance of the incident.
“My husband told Gary several times about the tree,” Barbara said. “We would be out in the street talking, and he told him several times. He said, ‘That branch is going to fall’, he said ‘when it falls, do you see where it’s leaning to? It’s going to fall on our house.’”
According to Barbara, the managers said an arborist determined the tree was safe. Barbara disagreed.
After the fallen oak tree was removed, the tree removal company returned a few days later to remove another large oak tree that was leaning over the unit where the parks’ managers reside.
Creekside Village mobile home management refused to comment.
“We don’t make comments to the media,” mobile home manager Sharon Lewis said before hanging up the phone.
“He told them to have the tree company come and take that branch down, but they wouldn’t listen to him,” Barbara said.
‘Getting the run-around’
The Maglioccas did not have insurance on their mobile home but thought the mobile home park was culpable for the damages to their unit and their vehicle.
“We’ve been getting the run-around. I put my trust in them and I probably shouldn’t have,” Barbara said regarding the park’s management.
Aside from being offered six months half rent for their mobile home space, the Maglioccas claim that the park hasn’t done enough.
“The mobile home park hasn’t offered to put us up. They didn’t do anything with my husband’s pickup, we just got one from his son-in-law in August,” Barbara said.
The Maglioccas stayed with their daughter for six months, but felt crowded with their four children and dogs.
Being on a fixed income and not being able to afford to pay for two residences, the Maglioccas opted to move back into their damaged mobile home, now covered in tarps as it awaited repairs.
“An engineer looked at this and said, ‘Block off that doorway, there’s no reason why you can’t live here. The rest of the home is perfectly safe. If you have nowhere to live, then you can stay here,’” Barbara said.
According to Barbara, the park’s management said there were contractors that would help, and materials would be donated, but each lead led to a dead end.
“The managers were saying, take your time, we’re not worried,” Barbara said.
Then the Maglioccas received a letter from attorney Jan Breslauer, representing Creekside Village’s owners.
“Management of the park has concluded that you are in violation of the rules and regulation, and action is required,” the letter reads.
“They are saying that their clients demand that you conform. And they gave me a copy of the CC&R’s,” Barbara said. “This is what really gets me worked up because the management knows that we don’t have the money to fix it, and that we’re trying to get the money.”
If they don’t have their mobile home fixed by mid July, the letter states that they must vacate the mobile home space.
A request for comment from Dowdall Law Offices’ Jan Breslauer was not granted.
“Now that I’m looking back on it all now, I wish something was done differently. I don’t want to leave here, I don’t want to lose my mobile home, I just want my living room fixed.”
To contact Multimedia Reporter Elias Funez email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4230.
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