Video by Joanna Linkhurst
By Mary O’KEEFE
A smell of gas had Glendale firefighters responding to the 3300 block of Burritt Way at about 10:30 a.m. this morning.
Battalion Chief Tom Probst said when they arrived they contacted The Gas Co. after smelling the gas and seeing a large pine tree swaying in the gusty wind in front of a home on Burritt Way. The fire department evacuated nearby homes due to the smell of gas and the swaying tree. About 10 minutes after they arrived and all had been evacuated, the firefighters noted that the ground near the large tree started to lift and shift and then the big tree fell, crashing across Burritt Way.
The tree was part of the landscaping of homeowner Marian Westerholm. She was home at the time the tree went over as was her daughter – and neighbor – Joanne Linkchorst and her children. They all witnessed the tree topple.
“The old tree fell down gracefully,” said Westerholm. The women estimated that the tree had been there for about 50 years.
Looking at the fallen tree as it lay across Burritt Way, Linkchorst was melancholy. “I grew up with that tree,” she said.
Several neighbors from this close knit community also commented on the loss of the majestic pine saying that it was beautiful and that the neighborhood had won a beautification award from the city in part due to the pine.
The Gas Co. is also on site working on the gas leak which is believed to have started when the tree started to give way, eventually yanking out the gas line when it toppled over.
Linkchorst said that when her son, Sam, saw the ground starting to lift before firefighters arrived, he ran outside and stood on the ground hoping to prevent the tree from toppling.
Unfortunately, that was not the case.
No homes were damaged by the fallen tree. City official John Hicks said the city will be responding to the downed tree later today and it will be chopped up and hauled away.