Canada: Vancouver woman trapped by 100-year-old fallen elm wants city to remove dangerous trees - - PressFrom - Canada
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Canada Vancouver woman trapped by 100-year-old fallen elm wants city to remove dangerous trees

15:50  08 november  2019
15:50  08 november  2019 Source:   vancouversun.com

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Vancouver woman Jacqueline Fefer is questioning why a possibly rotten elm tree wasn't detected by The neighbour called emergency services and then used a jack and a chainsaw to try to remove the tree . The 100 - year - old tree that struck her broke near the base and appeared to be rotted.

The Vancouver park board has removed 39 trees across the city following a powerful windstorm two weeks ago, but a woman who was pinned beneath a fallen elm is worried it may not be enough. Read More.

a man standing in front of a mountain: Jacqueline Fefer stands in front of the elm tree that fell on her on Oct. 25 during a windstorm. © Jason Payne Jacqueline Fefer stands in front of the elm tree that fell on her on Oct. 25 during a windstorm.

The Vancouver park board has removed 39 trees across the city following a powerful windstorm two weeks ago, but a woman who was pinned beneath a fallen elm is worried it may not be enough.

Jacqueline Fefer was running on West 13th Avenue on Oct. 25 when she heard a loud crack. Moments later, she was pinned beneath a piece of plywood and the limbs of an enormous tree.

A neighbour heard her smothered cries for help as she struggled to breathe and eventually lost consciousness.

“I’m very lucky he heard me,” Fefer recalled Thursday.

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The neighbour called emergency services and then used a jack and a chainsaw to try to remove the tree. He was soon joined by firefighters.

“I came to when they were loading me into the ambulance. I saw these heads above me and I remember thinking ‘Is this a dream?’ ”

Fefer spent 24 hours in hospital with 13 fractured ribs. One of the first things she did after being released was call the City of Vancouver to voice her concerns about the remaining elm trees on West 13th.

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Seattle loses a treasure as a 100 - year - old American elm blows down at Martha Washington Park. Few other American elms as large as this one remain in the city 's parks.

The 100-year-old tree that struck her broke near the base and appeared to be rotted.

“I’ve met with arborists who’ve told me that elms this age are typically top heavy with shallow roots. There’s also evidence from the outside that the tree was unhealthy,” she said.

Other elm trees along the same stretch of West 13th between Camosun and Crown streets show similar signs of ill health, including fungal fruiting bodies.

“Neighbours have told me it’s not the first time one of these trees has fallen.”

a person wearing a suit and tie standing in a parking lot:  Jacqueline Fefer was injured when an elm tree fell on her during a windstorm. © Jason Payne Jacqueline Fefer was injured when an elm tree fell on her during a windstorm.

In a statement, the Vancouver park board said staff inspected the trees along West 13th on Tuesday. All street trees are inspected on an “approximate annual basis,” but during an extreme weather event any tree could be damaged and fall.

“Elm are generally not known to have structural defects or disease,” said the statement.

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The park board did not provide additional comment beyond the statement.

In Vancouver each year, staff remove about 1,400 trees, or about one per cent of street trees. The trees are removed for a variety of reasons and a replacement tree is typically planted.

Immediately after the windstorm, the park board issued a statement saying the elm tree that fell “appears to have sufficient live wood and does not show indications of rot.”

But Fefer said she would like to see the elms replaced with something safer for the people who live or travel through the neighbourhood.

“I love trees, but these trees are old and they’re dangerous now,” she said. “It makes sense to plant something that’s less likely to fall.”

Fefer is also concerned the city’s previous inspections weren’t thorough enough to detect the risk.

“I understand that they can’t spend a lot of time looking at each tree, but in an area with 100-year-old trees, perhaps they could take more time.”

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