LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Tree-trimming crews on Sunday began cleaning up the remnants of a massive tree that toppled over and crushed at least a dozen cars at a shopping center in Woodland Hills.
It's still not clear what exactly caused the tree to split and come crashing down. Some speculate it could've been the recent heavy rains and even recent construction in the area, but an official cause has not been determined.
Local residents say the tree was referred to as "The Old Oak" and was protected as a landmark. Some estimated it to be a few hundred years old.
It certainly stood the test of time - until Saturday night.
Customers who were dining nearby said it almost felt like an earthquake when the tree fell.
"We were eating inside the Boiling Crab and we hear a loud thud," said Jordan Alvaraz. "We felt it. It was like a shake."
Mendocino Farms employee Natasha Nichols was inside the restaurant closing up for the night when it happened.
"All of a sudden the lights started flickering... and then the ground started shaking a little bit. Then we heard that crashing sound that trees make when they're coming down, and all of a sudden, it was like slow motion," said Natasha Nichols, who works at Mendocino Farms. "The tree started coming down and we were all holding onto each other, praying that the tree did not come down on the restaurant."
Some people were inside their vehicles when it happened. Nichols said they helped two out of four people from one car. The other two managed to free themselves without serious injury.