One injured as tree falls in PAEC lot

Wednesday, March 23, the CHS community responded to an emergency situation when a large tree fell in the PAEC parking lot, hitting three cars. 

Principal Amy Aviv communicated the incident in a Parent Square message Wednesday evening and later spoke with the Courier about her experience on-scene.

“Last night, we were hosting our Singin’ in the Rain performance when at about 6:47 p.m., [when] all the people were gathering outside to get their tickets and go in, there was a very loud noise,” Aviv told the Courier. “Some people described it as loud [as the sound] of [an] earthquake. The tree fell in the direction of the parking lot, knock on wood, and not in the direction of the people.” 

The branches of the tree struck two people in the parking lot, injuring one. The victim remained conscious and responsive but suffered a laceration. Emergency vehicles promptly arrived on scene to offer aid, and the victim is currently recovering at the Northridge Hospital. The second person suffered no immediate injury.

“[The tree] hit three cars,” said Aviv. “The first car that it hit was a Cadillac SUV, and the gentlemen inside it was just stepping out […] To my understanding, there were two parents on the scene who helped to pull them out. He did get hit by branches in the back of his head, so there was a laceration, but no broken bones, and he was not unconscious.” 

CHS staff and other members of the community surveyed the area and found no individuals were trapped inside struck cars, which was later confirmed by first responders. 

The tree in question was not newly planted. On the advice of first responders, administration assumes recent storms were involved in the fall.

“We assume it’s the rain,” said Aviv. “The fire department told us that any trees in the area that are on a downslope have been falling.” 

LVUSD is taking new safety measures to ensure that trees on all campuses are secure, namely checking roots. The tree that fell as well as the one next to it have been removed, and the hibiscus trees nearby, which are stronger in root, are being cut back.

Aviv acknowledges the community’s response to the incident. 

“I just want to say [a] shoutout to the community because the parents gathered together to protect the man and clear the way and everyone went in as calm as possible to support the students performing, and the show did go on,” said Aviv.

The CHS production of Singin’ in the Rain went on as scheduled, according to the interview with Aviv.