Menlo Park: Tree top falls, damaging roof and several vehicles


A 130-foot redwood tree in the 100 block of Baywood Avenue in Menlo Park is now shorter by about 30 feet after the top section of the tree fell during the windy storm on Thursday afternoon, March 1.

The tree parts penetrated the roof of a nearby home and severely damaged several vehicles sitting in the driveway, fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District said in a statement.

There were no reports of injuries, the chief said. At the time of the incident, around 4:55 p.m., the house was occupied when a "large branch" entered a second-story bedroom, but the occupants were on the first floor, he said.

The section of the tree that fell had been damaged by a lightning strike in September 2017, the chief said.

Firefighters arrived at 4:58 p.m. and used ladders to reach the barn-style roof, where they cut and removed branches and covered the hole with a tarp and a plywood patch to prevent water damage, the chief said.

Over the weekend, a tree service cleaned up the upper section of what remains of the tree, the chief said.

During the incident, the fire district used a drone to provide live streaming video, allowing firefighters to inspect damage to the roof, oversee steps taken to secure it and check the status of the damaged tree, the chief said. The drone "flew right up against the tree and directly above it," the chief said in an email.

"We continue to develop new use cases for our Drone fleet and increase our number of actual practical operations," the chief said in a statement. "In the past, there would have not been a safe and convenient way to have accessed and inspected this large Redwood Tree to better understand that it actually presented a threat to public safety below."

After the lightning strike, the homeowners had a tree service look at the tree and trim it if necessary, the chief said. Crews from Pacific Gas & Electric Company also examined the tree at the time, looking for risks to the adjacent power line infrastructure, but found no threats, the chief said.


Sign up for Almanac Express to get news updates. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Dave Boyce

We can't do it without you.
Support local journalism.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Don't be the last to know

Get the latest headlines sent straight to your inbox every day.

Downtown Palo Alto gets new Vietnamese eatery
By Elena Kadvany | 15 comments | 6,391 views

Composting Works
By Sherry Listgarten | 3 comments | 1,816 views

On Metaphor and Mortality
By Aldis Petriceks | 0 comments | 1,130 views

Premarital and Existing Couples: Marriage Rules: Yours, Mine, or Ours?
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 858 views

Big Island Food Party!
By Laura Stec | 0 comments | 558 views