PORTLAND -- A large tree toppled in Portland's Park Blocks Wednesday afternoon, briefly trapping a pedestrian underneath.
The 52-year-old woman was walking along the sidewalk when the 150-foot tall tree fell on her. Firefighters who rescued the woman said she was protected from serious injury from branches that miraculously wrapped around her like a cocoon and held off the weight of the large, 100-year-old tree.
Firefighters, armed with chainsaws, were surprised to see Sabrina Van Riette sitting on the sidewalk amidst the branches. They were able to part the branches, help her to her feet and walk her out to safety.
Van Riette was taken to Oregon Health & Science University for treatment. Her brother told KGWshe was in fair condition with shoulder injuries that will need surgery. He said she's in a lot of pain but in good spirits.
She is one lucky woman, Portland firefighters remarked. One minute she was walking down Jefferson Street and the next this huge tree fell on her.
Van Riette said she was walking home from work when the tree fell on her.
The toppled tree also caused damage at the St. James Lutheran Church, where stained glass windows were broken. Witnesses said the tree almost hit the area of the building that houses a daycare with 80 children inside.
Raw video:Tree topples in Park Blocks
According to city officials, root fungus and saturated soil appeared to be part of the reason the tree to topple from its base. There was no wind reported at the time the tree fell.
The St. James Lutheran Church was designated a National Historic Site in 1975, because of its West Coast Ecclesiastical History. It is located at 1315 SW Park Avenue. (See map)
It took crews several hours to cut up the tree and clear the street so it could be re-opened for traffic.