Trick-or-Treater Seriously Injured by Falling Tree in New Rochelle

Written By: Robert Cox

NEW ROCHELLE, NY — A 9-year old girl was seriously injured Wednesday evening, Halloween, when a tree was felled by strong winds and crushed the girl underneath.

WPIX 11 is reporting that Joe Lanni, a homeowner heard the tree felt and felt the impact as his whole house shook. He went outside and saw a young girl who had just trick-or-treated at his doorstep under the fallen tree.

CBS2News is reporting:

“I heard screaming, and people were beside themselves. She was trapped under a large branch,” witness Joe Lanni told CBS2. “The father had pulled the larger of the branches off of her, and she was clearly badly injured. He was doing quite well to keep her calm and tell her not to move.”

The girl was rushed to Westchester Medical Center for treatment.

WNBC has video as first responders are on scene:

The National Weather Service had issued a wind advisory. At 6:51 p.m. there were sustained winds of 22 miles per hour and gusts up to 32 miles per hour.

Neighbors say the tree was on City property and had been dead for some time. The homeowner is said to have reported the dead tree to City officials to be scheduled for removal. City official did not respond to a request for information on the status of the tree prior to last night’s incident.

New Rochelle has a Bureau of Forestry which is responsible for tree removal. That a complaint about a city tree is filed rarely results in immediate action.

New Rochelle Bureau of Forestry Policy:

Trees located within the public right of way are normally the responsibility of the City with a few exceptions. Trees which are dead, diseased, or dying will be inspected by the City and either pruned or removed depending upon their conditions. Trees requiring some action on the part of the City are placed on a list to be addressed as staffing and funding becomes available for such work. The volume of work can exceed the funds available in any particular fiscal year.

Where trees are close to, or utility wires run through them, the City must wait for the respective utility company to remove the trees to a point below the wires before removal of the remainder of the tree.

Trees that have been inspected and scheduled to be removed will be spray-painted with an orange “X”. It is not uncommon for more than a year to pass after initial notice of a dead tree on City property to be removed.

New Rochelle Police Officers responded to Maywood Road on a report of a young girl trapped beneath a fallen tree at 6:28 p.m.

“Upon arrival, the girl aged 9 had already been pulled from beneath a large downed tree by a nearby resident, who stated he heard the tree crash from inside his residence and when he came outside he saw a girl stuck underneath  part of the tree,” said New Rochelle Police Captain Cosmo Costa.

The young girl sustained multiple fractures and was transported to an area Hospital, according to police.

POLICE UPDATE: The multiple fractures include two fractured legs and a fractured pelvis. She was taken to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, NY.

City Manager Charles B. Strome:

First and most importantly, we send our heartfelt concern to the injured child and her family, and to all the families in the area who were impacted by last night’s tragic incident.

When a tree is in close proximity to electrical wires, the City cannot take any action until Con Edison first removes the top of the tree.  Since September, the City has been in regular contact with Con Edison to repeatedly urge the utility to address the tree at 4 Maywood, and this work received all requisite City permits months ago. New Rochelle’s Department of Public Works reiterated this request as recently as yesterday.  Con Edison’s catastrophic failure to address these conditions in a timely fashion should lead to a fundamental re-evaluation of the utility’s entire process for ensuring safety around trees in urgent need of maintenance.

UPDATE: 11/1 1: 07 PM Con Edison issued a statement to Talk of the Sound responding to the City’s allegations:

“Our hearts go out to the young girl and her family,” said Phillip O’Brien,Con Edison Assistant Director of Media Relations. “We are in contact with officials of the City of New Rochelle to review the matter.”

RELATED:

New Rochelle City Council Debated Backlog of Dead Trees in Month Before Child Seriously Injured by Falling Tree on Halloween

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