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Heavy winds toppled over trees on the Ridge; 1 home destroyed

Dead trees on the ridge toppled over after more than 40 mile per hour winds over the weekend. One man's home crushed by a fallen tree. Neighbors in Paradise unable to sleep, not knowing if their house is next.

Posted: Dec 8, 2020 2:24 AM
Updated: Dec 8, 2020 10:34 AM

PARADISE, Calif. - Around 1 a.m., a man walked out of his home because he heard cracking and snapping, and when he came out to see what it was, the tree was coming down and fell on his home crushing it and almost everything inside.

The danger on the Ridge where strong Red Flag Warning winds over the weekend toppled many trees. It left many residents of the Town of Paradise uneasy.

"People last night lost a lot of sleep knowing that trees were going to be coming down," said Stephen Murray, a Camp Fire survivor and a helping hand to the community. "And just like Ben, five months ago, they came and marked a tree for it to come down and five months later it has to fall on his home."

The man whose home was crushed is known to friends as Ben. He declined an interview after a long day rummaging through his belongings and we respected his privacy.

"People like Ben, this wasn't his tree, this was a neighboring tree and unfortunately now he has to deal with it," said Murray speaking on Ben's behalf.

Even during an interview with Murray, trees were still coming down, toppled by the wind.

"What's like the biggest thing right now? You've got thousands of trees -- is that one right there?" Action News Now Reporter Esteban Reynoso said but was interrupted by the distant sound of cracking and thudding of a falling tree.

"That's just like the Camp Fire," said Murray. "You're hearing trees falling, propane tanks blowing, as of right now a little PTSD kicks in, you hear trees falling, you gotta be looking up."

Looking up is something Jamie Johnston will be doing until the two dead trees looming over her house are removed.

"So any number of these trees can come down, but the ones that we're really concerned about are the killer trees," Johnston said in her backyard where the dead trees remain.

"We have two trees that are precariously close to our property that if they came down we'd be dead. This one here, and this one here," she said pointing up at the two tall dead Pine trees. "Either one of 'em, especially that one, could potentially take down our house."

"I'm trying to get my family back up here in Paradise," said Murray who is continuing to rebuild. "But I know that three weeks ago they really hit the trees hard. They hit 'em hard and then they stopped."

"Companies that have contracts for doing trees really need to take it more seriously. The Town of Paradise needs to take it more seriously before people have to die," said a frustrated Murray. "And luckily Ben made it through last night."

Thanks to neighbors and friends like Murray and others, Ben will have a new trailer home tomorrow, but for tonight, he'll have a hotel room away from any trees.

Action News Now reached out to Cal OES, CalRecycle, and the Town of Paradise. Today, none of them were available for questioning.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3573549

Reported Deaths: 52491
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles119295421467
Riverside2897733792
San Bernardino2867552940
Orange2614083921
San Diego2606253303
Santa Clara1107551781
Kern103422877
Fresno955481443
Sacramento935281484
Alameda807771242
Ventura77749852
San Joaquin668291126
Contra Costa62720681
Stanislaus56235949
Tulare48013761
Monterey42261328
San Mateo39059515
San Francisco34291422
Santa Barbara32050413
Solano30115164
Merced29147401
Sonoma28193298
Imperial26909635
Kings22082220
Placer19861232
San Luis Obispo19696235
Madera15496214
Santa Cruz14671183
Marin13231197
Yolo12851185
Shasta11017174
Butte10970163
El Dorado9160100
Napa905369
Sutter888097
Yuba577337
San Benito577261
Lassen562419
Tehama508652
Nevada397274
Tuolumne396059
Mendocino381643
Amador346641
Humboldt321033
Lake316441
Glenn223023
Colusa213613
Calaveras191049
Siskiyou176014
Inyo131337
Mono12144
Del Norte10035
Plumas6536
Modoc4564
Mariposa3957
Trinity3705
Sierra1000
Alpine820
Unassigned00
Chico
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Feels Like: 63°
Oroville
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Chico
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Red Bluff
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Hi: 75° Lo: 40°
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Sunshine and 70s for the next few days with a few clouds today the farther south you are located. We cool down this weekend with rain chances. Showers continue into next week.
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