Environment & Science

Drought may have played role in Pasadena tree fall

Firefighters and police on scene where a tree fell and injured eight children.
Firefighters and police on scene where a tree fell and injured eight children.
NBC4

An independent arborist has figured out why a 75-year-old pine tree uprooted and fell near the Kidspace Children’s Museum in Pasadena.

Ted Lubeshkoff, hired by the city, evaluated the 85-foot tall tree the day after it fell and released his report on Thursday. His findings specified a number of contributing factors to the incident, including the absence of anchoring roots, a slight lean in the tree and drought conditions.

"California is currently in its fourth year of drought, where it is receiving abnormally low rainfall amounts," reads the report. "This probably resulted in the Italian stone pine not receiving adequate amounts of water."

Recent rains may have contributed to the fall, according to the report.

“We had about .61 inches of rain that occurred less than 10 days prior to the tree collapse,” city spokesman William Boyer told KPCC. “[Lubeshkoff’s] indicating that the tree took in a lot of that water and that it added a lot of extra weight and that combined with the fact that it didn't have a strong anchoring root system [was] why it fell over.”

The tree uprooted on July 28 at about 5 p.m. Two kids were hospitalized with serious injuries, but they're now recovering at home.