A woman in Crofton, Maryland, is dead after a tree sliced through a rear bedroom of her home Tuesday night.
It happened just before 9 p.m. when high winds were blowing through the area.
Anne Arundel County firefighters got a call from a neighbor who said the woman’s husband came to them for help after he couldn’t account for his wife.
The tree, which had stood in the far left corner of the backyard, had sliced through the rear bedroom on the right side of the house, cutting right through it to the point the far wall was visible from the sidewalk out front.
The entire top half of the chimney on the two-story home was nothing but a pile of bricks on the ground next to the home.
When firefighters got there, “they had to secure utilities, they had to secure gas (and) electric, there was a possible leak of the refrigerant from the HVAC system,” said fire department spokesman Russ Davies.
“When they got upstairs they had to secure — just to be able to access to her, components of the roof had come down, the ceiling, utilities that might have been located up there, duct work, that sort of thing. So they had to go through and just secure the area from further collapse before they could even get access to her.”
By the time they were able to free her, nearly two hours later, she had passed away.
“It’s very unusual because the rest of the house, as you would imagine, almost appears to be untouched,” Davies said.
“Everything that was above that area, you’ve got the truss members, you’ve got the ceiling, the area that would support the ceiling, all of that is down in the area of that bedroom now. They had to work through that, and of course, assure there wasn’t any further collapse while they were working to get her removed.”
Davies said the presumption right now is that strong, gusty winds caused the tree to fall down.
“We do know that the weather events may have led to this occurring,” he said.
The victim hasn’t been identified, but a neighbor said she leaves behind two teenage children. Looking around the neighborhood, which is full of old trees that stretch 80-100 feet or higher through the air, he also said it would likely lead other residents to reassess the trees in their yards.
“By every indication from looking at it,” Davies said, “it looks like an accident or an act of nature with very tragic outcome.”