A 100-year-old Douglas fir crashed into a Sebastopol home before dawn Tuesday, slicing through the back of the house and landing just feet away from a sleeping woman.
The tree toppled over shortly after 5 a.m. following hours of torrential rain and strong winds, and it upended with roots intact, leaving a gaping whole in Susan Nestor’s backyard.
“I was asleep — and all of a sudden a whomp and a flash, which was probably the electric lines being knocked out,” said Nestor, who has lived on Vine Avenue about 24 years.
The tree — 75 to 80 feet tall and at least four feet in diameter — took out a corner of the multi-story hillside house, including the back deck and portions of a breakfast nook and a bedroom. Its root structure could not hold in the saturated ground.
“This thing was a monster tree,” Sebastopol Fire Chief Bill Braga said.
Braga said firefighters turned off the gas and electricity and called for a building inspector to evaluate the home’s structural integrity.
Nestor said that, like her, the two cats were shaken up but otherwise unharmed. She has two tenants who were not home at the time. Nestor said she’s lucky no one was hurt. And if the tree had fallen one day earlier, it would have destroyed a dining table covered in tax documents. But she took the paperwork to an accountant Monday.
“That’s one blessing right there,” Nestor said. “Plus the tree missed my bedroom by feet.”
You can reach Staff Writer Julie Johnson at 707-521-5220 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @jjpressdem.