Fallen tree smashes house, traps man in recliner

See the damage caused by this massive tree felled by the recent windstorm, and learn how firefighters rescued the man trapped inside, under one of the heavy limbs …

A huge tree, blown over by the pre-Christmas 2022 windstorm that hit our area, did substantial damage to a home in the Lents neighborhood.

By David F. Ashton
Portland Fire & Rescue images

Intense gusty east winds buffeted much of outer East Portland, from the Wilkes and Parkrose neighborhoods in the north to the Lents neighborhood in the south, starting on December 21 and not letting up until the wee hours of December 23.

Tree branches and limbs littered roads and yards. Some tree falls did damage to parked vehicles and tore down power lines, causing outages.

But a major tree failure on Thursday, December 22nd, dispatched Portland Fire & Rescue crews at 12:18 p.m. to a Lents neighborhood residence in the 8500 block of  SE 92nd Avenue.

The tree impeded firefighters’ entry into the front of this house.

On their way there, after finding limbs blocking the roadway, Lents Station #11’s Engine Company reported to dispatchers that their way was blocked by another, unreported, tree in the roadway — and told other responding crews to use a different route to the house.

Upon arrival, the engine’s lieutenant reported back to dispatch seeing “a large tree resting on a home, with damage to the structure”. Fire clearly wasn’t an issue, so this crew – and other arriving firefighters – were directed to make entry into the badly-damaged hom e and assess the situation.

The limbs of the fallen tree smash into and through the roof, and into the interior of the residence.

Parts of the fallen tree blocked the front door of the house – so crew members went around to the back door and were able to get in the house.

There, firefighters radioed finding a resident pinned into his recliner by the large tree. The PF&R Battalion Chief who was arriving at the scene upgraded this incident, and requested help from the Bureau’s Confined Space Technical Rescue Team (CSTRT).

By sliding the recliner back while lifting the massive limb, firefighters were able to free the man – amazingly, with only minor injuries.

But, before the CSTRT could respond, plucky crew members inside the house reported they were able to move the recliner backwards, and get the man free.

While the recliner rescue took place, other crew members made sure the utilities were disconnected from the house.

The increased response was cancelled quickly, with all crews on scene making certain there were no other injuries, and that all utilities which were affected were turned off as a result of the damage.

The man who’d been trapped in his chair was able to walk out through his garage – the least damaged portion of the home. Apparently the man suffered only a bruised forehead and leg.

After the rescue, and the house was secured, a PF&R official acknowledged, “Portland Fire & Rescue thanks our partners to the south at Clackamas County Fire District #1 for their help in responding in this event.”

© 2022 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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