Photo Gallery 2 Images
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.