Officials looking into cause of massive oak toppling in Glendale, injuring woman

GLENDALE, Calif. (KABC) -- A day after a massive oak fell on a 77-year-old woman in Glendale, officials are trying to understand what made it topple and taking a close look at other trees in the neighborhood.

The tree - believed to be more than 100 years old - came crashing down Sunday afternoon and fell on top of the Tujunga woman who was out taking a walk in the neighborhood. She broke her legs and left hand and was trapped underneath.

Neighbors tried to help but were unable to get her out from under the fallen oak.

"She was awake and she was crying out. I sat with her while we waited for the firemen to come," said local resident Stephani Ghiya.

Witnesses said it took firefighters about 30 minutes to get her out from under the tree. They first tried a jack and then a lever to lift the tree. Finally an inflatable device was able to lift the tree enough so the woman could be freed.

Neighbors are concerned about the condition of the other old oaks trees in the area.

Local arborist William McKinley was examining the fallen tree Monday. He said it appeared to be more than 100 years old and weighs thousands of pounds - heavier after absorbing water in the recent storm.

"Trees will support themselves in 70 mph winds," McKinley said. "And on a perfectly calm day the following summer, they can just lay down and fall over."
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