Massive oak tree topples onto several vehicles, power lines outside home in Redlands

REDLANDS, Calif. (KABC) -- A massive oak tree toppled outside a home in Redlands on Saturday evening, smashing several vehicles but sparing relatives who had attended a family gathering at the residence.

Standing near the downed branches in the 11000 block of Nevada Street on Tuesday, Ruben Sanchez showed a reporter where his daughters had been standing when the tree came crashing down.

At the time, Sanchez's daughters and nephew were helping to pack up the family's car when they heard the tree give way.

"We were walking up the driveway, and we started hearing a bunch of cracking noises," Angel Hernandez recalled. "I look up and I just see the tree coming down, straight to us."

Sanchez said the toppling sounded like the breaking of a branch.

The tree also brought down power lines, which caused nearby electrical transformers to explode.

"Thirty seconds later you see the power lines, the flash," Sanchez said. "That's when it really hit me - that we were in trouble."

Before the incident, a large family gathering had been held at the home.

"Luckily it didn't happen during the baby shower, when we had all these people coming in and out," said Beatriz Hernandez.

Due to confusion over who was responsible for the century-old tree, its fallen trunk and branches remained in front of the residence on Tuesday.

"Someone from the city came on Saturday night, and they said they were going to be back here on Sunday," said Trinidad Hernandez. "They did - they came back but they only cleaned the street."

Redlands officials initially said the cleanup was the responsibility of San Bernardino County. By Tuesday afternoon, however, ownership of the tree had been settled.

Officials determined the tree sat on city property and said a tree-removal company would be dispatched to the location.
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