Giant tree crushes Monrovia home, trapping residents inside

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Neighbors recalled the terrifying moment a giant pine tree toppled over and crushed a home in Monrovia, trapping the residents inside.

The tree fell on the home located on Mountain Avenue and Foothill Boulevard around 7 p.m. on Wednesday night.

The home’s renter, Shelly, said it sounded like a bomb had exploded as the giant tree uprooted and came crashing down onto the roof.

She was immediately surrounded by a blanket of dust and was stunned and terrified, not realizing what had happened.

Shelly’s van, which was parked in the driveway, was smashed in by the trunk, along with most of the home’s front portion. 

The surrounding fence was ripped from the earth and hoisted several feet into the air as the colossal tree roots were fully exposed. 

A giant pine tree topples over, crushing a Monrovia home and trapping residents inside on May 8, 2024. (KTLA)A giant pine tree topples over, crushing a Monrovia home and trapping residents inside on May 8, 2024. (KTLA)The tree’s massive roots are seen as the trunk crushes a van parked on the driveway of a Monrovia home. (KTLA)The tree’s massive roots are seen as the trunk crushes a van parked on the driveway of a Monrovia home. (KTLA)The Monrovia home is seen back in 2022. (Google Earth)The Monrovia home and the large pine tree are seen back in 2022. (Google Earth)The tree’s massive roots are seen as the trunk crushes a van parked on the driveway of a Monrovia home. (KTLA)The tree’s massive roots are seen as the trunk crushes a van parked on the driveway of a Monrovia home. (KTLA)The toppling of a large pine tree left a trail of destruction in Monrovia on May 8, 2024. (KTLA)The toppling of a large pine tree left a trail of destruction in Monrovia on May 8, 2024. (KTLA)The toppling of a large pine tree left a trail of destruction in Monrovia on May 8, 2024. (KTLA)The toppling of a large pine tree left a trail of destruction in Monrovia on May 8, 2024. (KTLA)The tree’s massive roots are seen as the trunk crushes a van parked on the driveway of a Monrovia home. (KTLA)A giant pine tree topples over, crushing a Monrovia home and trapping residents inside on May 8, 2024. (KTLA)

Neighbors on the street are stunned by the sudden collapse.

“This is tragic,” said Chris Higgins, a neighbor. “I mean, not just the house, but the car.”

“Everything’s in the tree’s way,” said neighbor Carl Pregozen. “The fences and stuff are just obliterated like they’re toothpicks. You don’t really think or see the hugeness of the tree when it’s up in the sky. But when you see it on the ground like this, it’s a humongous thing.”

Two people and two dogs were inside the home at the time. One of them was saved from serious injury by a piece of furniture that blocked her from being crushed.

The residents quickly turned off the gas lines and with the help of firefighters, were able to escape from the wreckage through the home’s back entrance 

The residents are thankful no one was seriously injured. However, the incident has left them shaken.

Mature pine trees are located all around Monrovia and locals generally believe the trees give their community extra charm. However, many are now wondering whether a similar situation could threaten their homes.

“I have a huge one right next to me and I always think about if it were to ever fall,” Higgins said. “It’s sad and it’s also a little scary. It wasn’t windy at all. It hasn’t rained in at least a few days. I know the soil is saturated, but there was no wind at all. That’s what is so strange about this entire thing.”

“I wouldn’t think a huge beautiful tree like that would fall just by itself,” Pregozen said. ‘It’s got to be something that’s causing it, some mismanagement of the tree in some way, probably inadvertent. It makes me want to be really careful and diligent about caring for the one I have in my yard properly.”

A GoFundMe page to help the owners repair their house can be found here.

City inspectors have red-tagged the home and investigators are working to determine the cause of the tree’s collapse.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.

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