If your power flickered downtown around noon today, it was most likely due to the collapse of six large eucalyptus trees on the south side of West Haley Street between Bath and De la Vina Streets. The trees, which were uprooted — dislodging chunks of the road and sidewalk — fell on and across the street, substantially damaging at least six cars and taking out four power poles that sent live, arching power lines careening into the road.
The stretch of Haley affected was already closed to outside traffic due to the construction on the Haley and De la Vina bridge. High winds coupled with saturated soil were reportedly the cause of the trees’ collapse.
Power was immediately cut to the area, and responding authorities urged — and continue to urge — residents in the area to stay in their homes while the tree debris is cleared and the area secured.
While no one was injured in the incident, Alejandra Lunez — who lives at 211 Haley Street, right in the midst of the collpases — was temporarily trapped inside her car as the trees and power poles fell around her. According to Lunez, she was backing out of her parking spot in the street (recently created to accommodate area residents while construction on the bridge is under way) when she noticed branches falling around her car. At first not recognizing the danger, she continued driving until she saw the six trees, one after the other according to her, plummet on either side.
After stopping and calling 911, Lunez told the Independent that she and her seven-month-old son, Benjamin Maximilian, waited for responding authorities to arrive. While they waited Lunez reportedly remained calm and collected, breast-feeding her baby in the back seat of the vehicle. Both were soon able to safely exit the car on their own after the downed power lines around Lunez’s vehicle were deemed inactive.
On the scene was a multi-agency effort — including City Public Works and Parks and Recreation personnel — to clear the trees and power poles. While there is no word yet on exactly when power will be restored to the area, or when cars of Haley residents will able to freely drive, temporary power lines may power the homes in the immediate vicinity as early as tomorrow afternoon.