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Woman trapped by fallen tree phones for help

A tree was blown over onto a duplex on Lakeridge Circle near Island Lake Monday afternoon. - Courtesy of Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue
A tree was blown over onto a duplex on Lakeridge Circle near Island Lake Monday afternoon.
— image credit: Courtesy of Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue

This story was updated at 11:08 a.m.

A Silverdale woman whose house burned down in March was trapped in another home by a falling tree near Island Lake Monday afternoon.

The woman, in her mid 40s, was taking a nap in the master bedroom when the wind dislodged a tall tree behind the house in the 13000 block of Lakeridge Circle NW. The tree fell onto her duplex, pinning her beneath the rubble.

Despite being trapped, the woman was able to call for help from a cell phone.

“She said she just happened to fall asleep with her phone in her hand,” said Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue spokesperson Ileana LiMarzi.

The call came in just before 5 p.m. Monday afternoon, according to LiMarzi.

A crew from Navy Federal Fire arrived on scene first and was able to extricate her from the debris. She was transported to Harrison Hospital in Bremerton and treated for moderate injuries.

“It's really fortunate that she had her phone so close to her, because I don't think she would have been able to get to a phone,” LiMarzi said.

The injured woman moved to the Lakeridge duplex after a fire in March destroyed her home on Avante Drive, just a block away. Her cat and bird were killed in that incident.

Lisa Breon lives in the other half of the same duplex with her son, Trè Reddic. The master bedrooms of each unit are side by side, she said, so when the tree fell onto the home it split the divider and damaged both units.

Breon said they decided to go out for an early dinner that afternoon. Because of that, they were gone when the incident occurred.

She was paying for their meal when she found out about the house. She got out her phone to use her tip calculator and it was lighting up with neighbors' phone calls. She left the money on the table and headed straight home – but not without remembering the tip – she said.

Bruno, Breon's dog, was home at the time, as was their gecko, Gary. Both pets were uninjured, she said, if not a bit frazzled.

While both units were damaged by the tree, Breon's did not seem to have take the brunt of it.

“For the neighbors, my heart just breaks for them,” she said.

Breon put a call in to her insurance company to assess the full extent of the damage. She said the insurance company refers to this category of incident as an "act of god.”

While the insurance company may be quick to pin the blame on deities, Lakeridge residents looked elsewhere. Breon and her neighbor, Robin Taylor, said the county owns the land on which the trees stand – a thin line of trees upwards of 100 feet tall standing just behind the homes.

The county refused to remove the trees, and she has already had to remove two at her own expense, according to Breon.

Kitsap Public Works Director Randy Casteel said he can't recall refusing any requests to look at problem trees, but promised to check on any calls made from the Island Lake area.

"They just need to contact the county risk manager and he'll investigate," Casteel said. "The risk manager would be the one to have somebody determine if it was a danger tree or not and have somebody take it down or not."

Casteel stressed that not every tree is a danger tree. It would need to have some problem, like loosened roots or disease to qualify for that distinction. Casteel said public works frequently takes down these problem trees.

Taylor said the trees are a cause of concern for many of the street's residents.

She asked a poignant question before heading back to her own residence along the tree line: “How many other homes are these trees going to fall on?”

Sometimes healthy trees are weakened and fall during wind storms, Casteel said, but public works can't cut every healthy tree down without clear-cutting the entire county.

 

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