ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — A desperate and delicate rescue operation unfolded just after 9:30 p.m. Monday in Annapolis when a large oak tree fell into a home on Holly Drive West, trapping three people in an upstairs bedroom.

It took more than 40 fire and rescue workers an hour and a half to free the family, including a young child. 

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They pronounced a man in his 40s dead at the scene. A woman in her 40s was taken to Shock Trauma in Baltimore with life-threatening injuries, authorities said.

The home sustained significant damage in the incident.

Chopper 13 showed the roof over that bedroom had collapsed on Tuesday.

 

“That somebody died—that is a real shock,” neighbor Tony Read told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren. “That’s a big tree. I think when you see it up close, you realize just how powerful that thing is and how heavy it is.”

The neighborhood has many large trees. Saturating rains and wind gusts above 30 miles an hour led to a dangerous situation.

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“It’s just terrible,” neighbor Regina Schmidt told Hellgren.  “We’ve never had tragedy like this before. Never. It’s so sad.”

Crews worked for hours Tuesday to remove the tree from the home, bringing in a large crane.

Arborist Dan Helgerman examined the tree that fell into the home. He said the oak is more than 80 years old but there were no obvious warning signs of decay.

“The wind last night and the water and being top-heavy just took them down,” Helgerman said. “I was amazed from just looking at it. I looked at the roots. I couldn’t see a problem there, didn’t see any rot, anything wrong with the trunks. Then, I looked at the tops of the trees, and that is when I realized they were too heavy.”

This is not the first similar tragedy in Anne Arundel County. Just two months ago in Crofton, a woman died after a tree crashed through her bedroom as strong storms passed through the area.

And in Owings Mills in February, a man died after a tree crashed through his car as he was driving.

There was no immediate word Tuesday on what caused the oak tree to fall into the home.

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WJZ reporter Amy Kawata contributed to this report.