Storm Weakened Tree Kills Sleeping Child In California

Posted By: Meagan Van Dyke on March 19, 2012 2:07 pm

A storm-weakened tree crashed down on a house, killing a sleeping 8-year-old girl. 

The 100 foot fir tree hit a home in the Northern California town of Arnold early Sunday, killing Haley Verzani in her bedroom, authorities said.

The tree was 3 feet in diameter which fell across a creek after a night of heavy snow, fatally pinning the girl to her bed, Ebbetts Pass Fire District Chief David Baugher said. 

The fierce winter storm blew through California over the weekend, leaving thousands without power Monday after dumping much needed rain on the parched state.

It took Firefighters 20 minutes to get to the scene because they had to maneuver through 6 inches of unplowed snow.  They also had to call in heavy equipment to lift the tree off the house, a process that took an hour.

Severe winter storms have caused havoc in the past in Ebbetts Pass, a mountainous section of Calaveras County which is close to 30 miles northwest of Yosemite National Park. During the week of Thanksgiving 2010, snow led to 250 calls about fallen trees, though there were no fatalities, Baugher. At that time, Ebbetts Pass was considered a disaster area.

Snow has been to blame for the deaths of a skier and a snowboarder in the Sierra, where storms dropped more than 5 feet of snow on some ski resorts over the last few days.

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