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Storm-toppled tree crushes home, misses occupants

House on Southwest Camelot Street is struck by tree Monday


by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Crews from Balfor Property Restoration and North Woods Tree Service helped remove the large evergreen that struck this house in Wilsonville early Monday morning. A Wilsonville woman narrowly escaped death Monday morning when her westside home was badly damaged by a falling evergreen tree toppled by the powerful weather system that battered the metro area Sunday night.

The three-bedroom, two-bathroom single-story house at 29882 SW Camelot Street was struck just before 4:30 a.m. Monday. An adjacent home also was slightly damaged by the falling tree.

According to Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue, two residents in the house that was hit suffered minor injuries as a result of the falling tree, which was estimated at more than 100 feet in length.

The tree landed directly on top of the master bedroom and actually came to a rest on top of a bed occupied by one of the victims, later identified as 58-year-old Wilsonville resident Jane Garrard. Garrard and her son were able to extricate themselves and drive themselves to a nearby hospital.

“The miracle really is the fact that it actually fell on the person,” said TVF&R Public Information Officer Peter Scott. “And it was kind of the cushioning of the bed — there was enough give on the bed that it really saved her.”

The condition and identity of Garrard and her teenage son remains uncertain, although several sources report that Garrard suffered a broken vertebrae as a result of the incident.

Scott said the pair had “self-transported” to Legacy Meridian Park Hospital in Tualatin without first calling 9-1-1. He said Garrard finally called 9-1-1 from the hospital to make sure her neighbors were safe. He added that she was later taken to Oregon Health and Science University Hospital in Portland as a “precaution.”

Scott emphasized that while the victims made it safely to the hospital, TVF & R encourages people in these situations to first phone 9-1-1 for assistance so medics can assess them for possible injuries.

Clackamas County property records indicate the damaged 1,530-square-foot home is owned by Gresham resident Brian Schmidtke and was purchased in 2008.

TVF&R first reported the incident via its PulsePoint mobile app at 4:44 a.m., when the app notified users that firefighters had been dispatched for a medical emergency at a location on Southwest Camelot Street. The agency’s Twitter feed quickly followed with additional information that a tree had fallen onto the house and struck a bedroom where the homeowner was sleeping.

Neighbors at the scene later in the morning told the Spokesman Garrard was fortunate not to have been killed.

Scott agreed.

“I talked to our battalion chief there; even when he looked at it, he said, ‘She’s lucky to be alive,” Scott said. “They’re very much shaking their heads, but you know that’s a great thing that something like that can happen and they not only were able to escape, they were able to drive themselves to the hospital.”

According to news partner KOIN Local 6, thousands of people in Clackamas County were without power Monday morning, as crashes and downed trees were reported throughout Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington and heavy rains pummeled the region.

by: PHOTO COURTESY TUALATIN VALLEY FIRE AND RESCUE - A woman sleeping in this bed narrowly escaped serious injury or death early Monday morning when a tree fell onto the roof of her Wilsonville house.



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  • 17 Sep 2014

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