Tree fell into living room where man slept

RAVENSDALE, Wash. — A massive tree nearly crushed a man sleeping in his living room.

The damage was left behind after a strong storm swept through parts of western Washington.

It knocked down several trees as the storm blew through about 7 a.m. Sunday. A tree fell in Renton’s Fairwood neighborhood, but no one was hurt.

But a man who lives eight minutes away wasn’t quite as lucky.

You almost have to see it to believe it. A 200-foot tree crashed into a six-unit apartment building, seeming to slice it in half.

“It went from perfectly calm to trees swaying and hail blowing sideways,” said Puget Sound fire Capt. Joe Root. “And it just followed its way up this way.”

He says the tree that succumbed to the destructive storm fell as a man slept in the 22200 block of 196th Street Southeast near Renton.

“Underneath the tree on a couch that appeared to be a living room,” said Root. “The tree was across his pelvis.”

When they discovered he was trapped, the call turned into a technical rescue. So the Seattle Fire Department was called in to help. Root says it took nearly one agonizing hour to get him out.

“He was conscious the entire time,” Root said. “Conscious and talking the entire time.”

The same weather system that took that tree down took down another one, too, nearly 5 miles away.

“A little bit before 7, I heard the thunder and the rain,” said Eric Gatterdam, who lives in Candlewood Ridge. “The rain was incredible. Oh, yeah, rain and hail. It sounded like buckets hitting the house.”

Whne a KIRO 7 crew arrived, his 6-year-old son, Gunther, and two other neighborhood children were actually cleaning up the debris that littered so many yards.

Their motives weren’t altogether altruistic.

“Money,” announced 10-year-old Valerie Voelker. “Also, it was pretty dirty.”

“His dad is paying us,” said her 7-year-old sister, Tiffany, laughing gleefully.

“(But) it was pretty dirty, too,” insisted Valerie.

And they did a pretty good job.

People in the area say a King County crew came out to make a way for vehicles to travel through here. They are expecting the crew to return, perhaps sometime tomorrow, to clean it all up.

The man who was hit by the tree is in satisfactory condition at Harborview Medical Center.

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