Local News

Tree rot likely contributed to fall that killed woman

Posted May 17, 2010 4:00 p.m. EDT
Updated May 17, 2010 7:31 p.m. EDT

— Rot and decay likely contributed to a massive tree falling onto a Wake County house Sunday, instantly killing a woman and injuring two other people.

Sabrina Allen, 32, was sleeping in a bedroom in the rear of the home she was visiting on Rock Quarry Road, when the tree fell shortly before 6 p.m.

Jack Wood, a tree-removal specialist, said Monday that it is possible that the double-trunk oak tree, which was about 4 feet in diameter, collected water and rotted after part of the tree fell this past winter.

"This is not the first double-trunk tree I've seen split apart and fall on a home," Wood said.

A powerful thunderstorm was also moving through the area at the time that authorities believe could have also caused the tree to fall.

“It sounded like a transformer had blew, and when I looked out, the tree was over into the house,” neighbor Selina Patton said of the tree that fell on Allen's home.

Her death is causing neighbors, like Patton, to think about the large trees around their homes.

"We have trees about as big, so we've got to get somebody here, because we don't want this happening again at all," Patton said.

Wood said, however, that even healthy trees, given the right conditions, can go down in any storm.

He suggests keeping trees well-pruned and seeking professional advice.

"It is a good idea to get a professional arborist to come by and assess your trees for you and point out ones that may be more likely to come down in a storm event," Wood said.