A townhouse complex in west Maple Ridge was evacuated Tuesday after a rotting tree toppled onto a roof of one unit.
No one was home at Unit 4 when the tree fell around noon, buckling a large section of the townhouse roof.
Carol Godin, who lives in a home behind the complex at 12075 – 207 A Street, heard about five “terrible” cracks and a “thud” before she ran out to investigate.
“I figured it was a tree,” said Godin. “We were just discussing it three days ago.”
Krystal Pitt and her two children were playing on the deck of the townhouse next door when she, too, heard ominous creaking. She grabbed her kids and ran out of the front door.
“I didn’t even wait to see where the tree hit,” Pitt said as she waited for the fire department and an arborist to determined whether it was safe to return home.
The split cottonwood was growing in a ravine where McKinney Creek flows and lies in a thicket of trees that are rotting.
Assistant fire chief Howard Exner said half of the cottonwood brought down a maple tree, then fell on to the roof and buckled it.
“My concern is that the cottonwood is severely cracked and has root damage and we are worried about it dropping on other houses,” Exner added.
“The complication is that it is private property … We have to work with the people who run the strata here.”
All five units in the complex were evacuated as a precaution. Residents were not allowed to return home until authorities determined it was safe.