By Sara Beth Williams–
During the high winds on the afternoon of Sunday, Feb. 4, Carolyn and Joaquin Varela’s tree fell across Rollingwood Boulevard, blocking traffic, and impacting properties both across the street and diagonally.
The couple have resided in Citrus Heights and lived on Rollingwood Boulevard since 2012, Varela said in a Feb. 10 interview. The moment she returned home on Sunday afternoon last weekend, she told her husband she was concerned that the tree in their front yard would fall during the storm. Varela said the tree was over fifty feet tall, according to a tree removal service she’d contacted beforehand.
At first her husband wasn’t concerned, but after taking out the trash later that afternoon, her husband confirmed her worries, saying that the V-shaped tree had split in the middle.
The Varelas alerted their nearest neighbors, and most families moved their vehicles out of the vicinity. One neighbor also allowed the Varelas to park their own vehicles in a different driveway so that their cars could avoid any potential damage.
“By eight in the evening, the first half had snapped,” Varela said, adding that she could hear the tree cracking from inside her house as it was falling. “It was very scary.”
Varela said several neighbors watched outside and were ready to help after the first half fell, because it was blocking the street. Varela said they could hear the tree continually cracking every time the wind would gust. As soon as volunteers decided to try and remove the first half, the second half began to crack and eventually fell diagonally in the other direction.
Varela contacted the Citrus Heights Police Department Sunday evening, and they informed her she would have to pay to have the tree removed. Instead, many neighbors came to help.
“Once it fell, everyone started working,” Varela said, adding that there were people she didn’t even know who showed up to help remove pieces of the tree from the street, including the neighbors who lived directly behind her. Varela said an employee from the City of Citrus Heights came the next day and thanked the family for quickly clearing the street.
Despite the tree falling across the boulevard, no structural damage and no injuries occurred.
“It was really nice to see everyone coming together,” Varela said, adding that one of her neighbors offered the use of a large diesel truck to haul away the large amount of wood to the dump. In all, the Valeras and the volunteers took six loads to the dump in two trips.
Varela said she felt “blessed” that so many people came to help. Many people stayed until 10:30 p.m. Sunday night and many returned Monday morning. Varela said she offered all the volunteers lunch on Monday while they and her husband worked to cut up the tree.
“I don’t think they know how much I really appreciate all of their help,” Varela said.
By Sara Beth Williams--
During the high winds on the afternoon of Sunday, Feb. 4, Carolyn and Joaquin Varela’s tree fell across Rollingwood Boulevard, blocking traffic, and impacting properties both across the street and diagonally...
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