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Large eucalyptus tree falls on Oakland apartment building

Large eucalyptus tree falls on Oakland apartment building
Large eucalyptus tree falls on Oakland apartment building 02:44

OAKLAND -- Across the Bay Area, falling trees continue to be a problem after the storms. Strong winds are taking down trees and branches in some areas, pulling down power lines and threatening homes.

In Oakland, tree-removal crews Thursday were clearing what's left of a eucalyptus tree that fell across an apartment building at the end of Lynde Street in the Fruitvale neighborhood. The tree fell during the height of Wednesday night's storm.

"I thought it was an earthquake. Then the lights went out," said Jemmiel Moore, who has lived in one of the back units of the building for about eight months. He said he worried something like this might happen.

"Trees have been falling in the back, like loose branches and all that. And on that side right there trees have been falling," Moore said.

Victoria James lives in a top unit directly under where the tree fell.

"We just left with what we had on our backs. There's a big hole in the ceiling, like, in my bedroom, the living room and the kitchen for sure. I saw where tree trunks came into the apartment so it's flooded in there right now," she said.

Thankfully no one was injured but the city building inspector has red-tagged the complex, meaning all of the residents don't know when or if they'll be able to return home. Most are staying in hotels nearby and some residents came back Thursday to grab whatever they could carry.

Because the ground is so saturated from all the rain, trees are continuing to fall across the Bay Area putting tree specialists in high demand.

"I was out until about 10:30 last night cleaning up fallen trees here in Oakland and then my phone started ringing at 6 o'clock this morning and it's been go-go-go all day," said Trex Donovan.

He has owned Buena Vista Tree Service for more than 25 years and is a certified arborist. He says that even healthy trees are at risk of falling because of how wet the ground is but it's especially true for drought-impacted trees, which might have dead or dying root systems.

"Even trees that have gotten regular maintenance might be at risk of falling," Donovan said.

Oakland Hills resident Edward Kreutzer saw that one of the trees in his backyard appeared to be about to fall over and called multiple tree companies before connecting with Donovan. When the crews from Buena Vista Tree Service arrived, they saw Kreutzer's tree was beginning to fall and needed to be cut down immediately to prevent damage to a neighbor's home.

"Literally, yesterday, I said we really ought to have somebody take a look at that tree. It might be a problem in a big storm like this and so there you go. It's gone now for exactly the reasons I thought it would be,"  Kreutzer said.

Experts say that, sometimes, there's no way to prevent a tree from falling, especially in such powerful storms. The best thing you can do is keep an eye on the trees and, if you see them starting to lean at all, call a tree service immediately so they can help before the problem gets worse.

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