LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - An enormous 150-foot pine tree crashed through a Scripps College French professor's faculty home Friday night as wild winds caused serious damage to homes in Claremont.
Julin Everett says the electricity had gone out on East 11th Street and as she lit candles, suddenly there was a terrible sound.
"I heard the tree crack and I ran to the back of the house and the tree landed within feet of me," said Everett.
Throughout the community, there was a chorus of chain saws as cleanup from Friday night's winds stretches into its 3rd day. Downed trees litter street after street with some completely blocking access to Claremont neighborhoods.
Ralph Spaulding, a Claremont resident, says the incredible gusts knocked out the power in parts of Claremont as transformer after transformer exploded lighting up the neighborhood. A Jacaranda tree next door fell onto his roof and broke a small window.
"I've been in that house since for 45 years. [I've] never had one like that," said Spaulding.
The huge canary pine that Carolee Monroe planted as a seedling in her backyard decades ago on North Indian Hill Blvd toppled at the peak of the winds.
"My vocabulary isn't big enough to describe everything we heard. All the different sounds and everything. It was horrific," said Monroe. "It took out a gazebo and swing and part of the guest house above the garage. The fallen pine has swallowed the adjacent yard."
The Monroe's beloved 31 year old tree is being carefully cut up so pieces can be used as tables.
"It's been very hectic. A lot of trees have gone down in the city of Claremont," said Eddie Martinez, owner of Elite Tree Care.
Tree trimmers are scattered across the grounds of the Claremont colleges, worked to clear trunks and branches. The power is still out in several spots including major intersections along Foothill Blvd.
Jeff Ramdass is scrambling to find wifi, "it's been three and half days. I just had to throw out all of the food from three days where we thought we could salvage it."
The lights came back on for some residents living near the colleges but for more than 600 households power still out. Crews say they cant restore power until they remove all of the trees
from the lines.
Classes were canceled today at all Claremont Unified School district campuses due to the weekend windstorms that caused major damage to many homes and took out power lines throughout the region.
Parents were urged to keep their students home and away from campuses, two of which are without power – Mountain View and El Roble, which is also the site of the district's Central Kitchen, where meals are prepared for all school sites. The district says they will not be able to serve breakfast or lunch on Mondays.
"It has been a difficult weekend for all Claremont residents. The windstorms created havoc, left many residents without power for days, and in some cases, caused major damage to family's homes," the district said in a statement. "We have had District staff and contractors at all sites over the weekend and have been able to assess, and initially respond to, only immediate dangers at our school sites. A full assessment of our campus' safety is needed."
District officials say there are concerns about loose limbs in trees, plumbing issues caused by uprooted trees, and infrastructure that's been damaged by the power outages and fallen trees. The district says its Board of Education will meet in a special closed meeting Monday night to discuss the current status of its campuses and their closure.
However, the district says it plans on reopening its campuses on Tuesday.
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