On Tuesday, eight children between the ages of six to eight years old were injured, two of them critically, when a massive pine tree fell during a field trip at a summer day camp in Pasadena.
City fire spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said the 75-foot-tall, 75-year-old pine plunged down without any warning at roughly 5 p.m. outside the grounds of the Kidspace Children’s Museum, close to the Rose Bowl. She said all of the injured children were alert and able to talk.
Tim Scheidler, Kidspace Children’s Museum’s marketing manager, told the San Francisco Chronicle, “It was the end of the day, so there were people gathered outside who were leaving and there was a camp group waiting for pickup by their parents when the tree came down.”
Greg Prodigalidad, who witnessed the accident and rushed to help rescue the children, told KABC-TV, “I heard a tree crack, and then I turned around, and I saw little kids running, then I saw the tree fall on top of the little kids, maybe about five or seven of them. I ran over there with a bunch of parents and we just started going through the tree and the bushes and we started pulling them out.”
NBC Los Angeles reported that an Urban Search and Rescue team used chainsaws to cut branches to search for more possible victims. The two children in critical condition were taken to Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center.
Michael Shanklin, Kidspace CEO, stated:
Our hearts go out to the families of those injured as well as all those who witnessed this frightening incident. We wish everyone a speedy and complete recovery. I am extremely proud of our Kidspace staff, members of the community, and the first responders from the City of Pasadena for their quick thinking and help getting everyone to safety and ensuring everyone was accounted for. We are constantly reviewing our safety protocols and procedures and I am confident that diligence helped minimize injuries and save lives.
Scheidler said all of the 33 day campers had been found, and the museum would remain open on Wednesday. Derderian added, “We are bringing out an independent arborist to investigate what could have caused this.”