Two Killed in Collapse of Large Tree in Point Loma

by on January 21, 2019 · 5 comments

in Ocean Beach

Large tree collapsed onto 2-story house on 4400 block of Santa Monica Ave in Point Loma. Screen grab from Fox5.

UPDATED: Two people were killed when a massive pine tree collapsed onto a two-story house in the 4400 block of Santa Monica Avenue in Point Loma Monday morning, authorities said. The tree fell around 6 a.m.

Fox5 reports a man and woman who were on the second story of the house died. A third person who was on the first story was rescued by firefighters. He was not hurt.

“It was horrendous. I’ve never heard anything like it. It was crashing and people yelling,” a neighbor told FOX 5. “The tree has been here as long as I’ve moved here 50 years ago. It’s been pruned and re-pruned. It was an accident waiting to happen.”

Several power lines in the area were down due to the fallen tree. San Diego Gas & Electric crews were at the property working on them. SDFRD official said it could be hours before officials could get to the deceased couple due to the power lines and structural damage. The National Weather Service recorded wind gusts of 40 mph during the time the tree fell.

Here is an update from 7SanDiegoNBC:

The tree with a trunk about as wide as a person landed on the home at the intersection of Santa Monica Avenue and Santa Barbara Street near Ocean Beach, the San Diego Police Department said.

Two people were believed to be sleeping in a bed on the upper floor when the tree came down at about 6:15 a.m., according to SDPD Lt. Christian Sharp. Their identities were not yet known.

When SDPD arrived, a neighbor was using a ladder to try to reach the people inside through a window,  Sharp said.

The massive tree caused significant damage to the structure of the home and was hindering crews from reaching the people inside, Sharp said.

Officers were able to rescue one person who was downstairs at the time.

“There’s so much damage to that house that we would have to go back in there, remove the tree and have to be able to clear some of the other areas,” Sharp said.

Crews were also dealing with a gas leak within the home, preventing them from going inside.

Live power lines had gone down up to a half-block away from the crushed home, Sharp said.

San Diego Gas & Electric was called to turn off power and gas flow to the home.

A neighbor identified as John said he heard the tree crack early Monday. He estimated that the Torrey pine, one of four large trees in the neighborhood, was anywhere between 75 feet to 100 feet tall.

“This tree has just been waiting to be blown over,” John told NBC 7. “When I looked out the window, I could tell the tree – it’s gone.”

Sharp said he did not know of any problems with the tree prior to its collapse and said the accident was unusual.

“We don’t see this sort of damage and with the fatalities, it’s very rare in San Diego,” he said.

The tree collapsed during a high wind warning for San Diego, which predicted that gusts along the coast could reach 25 miles per hour. It followed about a week’s worth of rain in the region that dumped inches of rain along the coast.

NBC 7 Meteorologist Sheena Parveen said that while typically a 25 mph gust would not be strong enough to topple a tree, if the tree was already on soft ground and had root issues, gusty winds could contribute.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

unwashedwallmartThong January 21, 2019 at 6:49 pm

Man, this is so very, very sad.


Mike Doering January 21, 2019 at 9:13 pm

Tragic tale of the couple who died when the tree fell. Glad no one died falling off the pier when it broke. A wild week. I jog on the beach at OB every day and I see a lot of things. Today a helicopter looked like it was pulling someone out of the water. Probably a practice run. Lots of vigilance at OB. I see lifeguards doing practice runs all the time. However. There needs to be more signs on the non dog beach to keep dogs off. I am getting tired of the fear factor of being bare legs on OB Beach. I have had dogs herd me and chase me and I don’t like it. Some of these dog owners are arrogant and stupid about the law. Dog Beach is great. But dog owners, not so much. Some of them.


washed walmart Thong January 22, 2019 at 8:43 am

Dang… whos ever tree that was is in big trouble


Frank Gormlie January 22, 2019 at 10:09 am

Fox5 Reports: A longtime family friend of the couple killed when a tree collapsed onto a Point Loma Heights home Monday shared more about the kind of people Jessica and Troy Nelson were.

Kay Derry told FOX 5 that the North Dakota city the Nelsons were from is very small compared to San Diego, so word traveled fast about their tragic death. “It was just kind of ironic, they were always together now they’re in heaven together watching over us,” said Derry, who knew the couple for more than 20 years.

Derry owns a business in Grand Forks that is just down the street from the Nelsons’ business, Trojan Promotions. She says the couple were community leaders and always willing to help anyone who needed it. …A third person in the house, who Derry says is Jessica’s brother, was able to get out safely.


Frank Gormlie January 22, 2019 at 10:12 am

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