An elderly woman was taken to hospital with serious injuries Monday night, after a tree crashed through the roof of her Langford mobile home and pinned her during a windstorm.
Langford fire crews responded to an initial call from a resident of the Hidden Valley Mobile Home Park just after 9 p.m. When they arrived they found the caller safe and uninjured, but were alerted to a second home that was badly damaged, with no sign of the person living there. After calling out and discovering the woman pinned in the chair she had been sitting in when the tree fell, firefighters used rescue equipment to clear a path and free the woman.
“I think they did a great job under very challenging circumstances,” Langford Fire Chief Chris Aubrey said of the rescue crew.
“As you can imagine, it’s pitch black, the wind still blowing, there’s still other trees that are swinging around and they’re hearing branches falling in the distance. So it was obviously a safety issue as well. And we’re not sure about the power in the units that are affected. So, there certainly was a risk factor.”
No update was available on the woman’s condition. Both mobile homes were deemed uninhabitable and Emergency Support Services provided hotel rooms for impacted residents.
Crews were still working to remove the tree from the home at 4 p.m. on Tuesday.
Environment Canada had issued a strong wind warning for western portions of the Island on Monday. The heavy rain the area saw over the weekend softened the ground, which, when combined with strong winds, can increase the risk of trees falling down, Aubrey said. He added that fire crews were kept hopping on Monday, responding to calls about fallen power lines and other emergencies.
“We experienced some conditions yesterday that were even above what we would normally experience. I don’t know how much more we can prepare for it. Hopefully, it’s not a sign of things to come with the weather with climate change and stuff like that, because it’s very challenging to be able to mitigate these types of big wind storms that hit such a large area.”
Aubrey suggested anyone living in a forested area should try and arrange for an arborist to assess the trees around them so they’re aware of any risks, and have emergency supplies on hand in the event of a power outage.
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