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Tree falls on Kirkland apartment building with elderly couple inside

Crews work to remove three trees that fell on a building in The Village at Juanita apartment complex following a rain squall on Thursday evening. An elderly couple were taken to the hospital for observation and released. - Matt Phelps/Kirkland Reporter
Crews work to remove three trees that fell on a building in The Village at Juanita apartment complex following a rain squall on Thursday evening. An elderly couple were taken to the hospital for observation and released.
— image credit: Matt Phelps/Kirkland Reporter

The Village resident David Hart said he heard and felt a thump at about 6:15 p.m. on Thursday.

“I knew exactly what it was,” said Hart. “I knew it would come down at some point.”

When he ran outside of his condo he became worried. Two gigantic trees had crashed through a neighboring condo building and Hart thought the worst. He rushed into the building to look for his neighbors.

“I was the first one up there,” said Hart. “Having seen the pictures of the inside of that apartment I am surprised that they walked out of the building.”

An elderly couple had just finished their dinner when the tree came through the dinning room window at The Village located in the 9800 block of Northeast 124th Street. The man and woman were taken to Evergreen Hospital for observation.

“He seemed to be in shock,” said property manager Linda Reoh. “When I saw all the aid cars here I thought we would be dealing with a much more serious accident.”

Both elderly victims are now staying with relatives, according to Hart, and have minor injuries. The apartment on the other hand will have to be rebuilt.

“The building has been condemned,” said Reoh. “The whole top will have to come off … The one tree took out two more trees and then landed on the roof. Some of the big limbs went straight through the roof.”

The main tree that hit the building was so large that it had to be removed by a crane late Thursday evening.

“The root ball has to be 10 or 12 feet tall,” said Hart, who remembers another tree falling in 2005 near the complex.

A railing on the other side of the building was mangled by the falling debris. At least one car was destroyed during the incident.

Tenants from all eight of the condos in the building will have to find temporary housing.

The largest tree was a source of contention. Some residents at The Village had concerns about the condition of the tree prior to the incident Thursday. They believed that exposed roots and a creek that runs right through the land had compromised the integrity of the tree.

The tree is on the land of a neighboring complex, The Esplanade, and getting permits to have the tree removed was difficult, The Village management said.

“They were supposed to have it removed during the stream restoration,” said Hart.

Reoh said that a heavy rain squall that came through the area around 3 p.m. on Thursday may have contributed to the accident.

“That tree was so old and the roots were exposed,” said Reoh, who had not received an estimated cost for repairing the building. “I am just very thankful no one was injured seriously.”

 

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