PLEASANTON, CA — 17 people escaped injuries after a large tree fell on the Lighthouse Baptist Church at Second and Neal Streets in Pleasanton on Tuesday afternoon as fierce gusts toppled trees and wires across the Tri-Valley.
According to Pastor Bill Bryson, the large tree smashed and flattered two classrooms of the kindergarten and toddlers wing around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday when young students were in the church school on the other side of the building. The tree also fell on neighbor Jeff Meier’s home, but no one was injured, ABC-7 reported.
The tree narrowly missed the church’s administrative offices, Bryson said. The main structure of the church is intact and services will be held as usual as the church finds a new place for its infant children who will remain there during services.
“Praise the Lord it wasn’t Sunday because that would be a whole different story,” Bryson told Patch. “The rest of the structure is fine.”
Students and staff stayed in place while emergency services assessed the situation and removed the tree. The area is now closed as the church negotiates with its insurance company and contractors.
Bryson said his wife and the church secretary were in the building and heard the fall. “They said it was very loud and a jolt, similar to an earthquake,” he said. KTVU uploaded dramatic footage of the falling tree to YouTube.
Trees fell across Pleasanton on Tuesday as gusts of more than 50 mph swept through the town. Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department battalion chief Jim Artman said on Patch Tuesday night that his department has responded to over 80 emergency calls, including multiple rescue efforts, building fires and power lines.
“The city has activated the Emergency Operation Center and the various city departments are conducting a damage assessment on the extent of damage from the wind event,” Artman said in an email sent at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. “With that in mind, to the best of my knowledge, there have been no injuries or fatalities related to the effects of the wind. There are several buildings in both Pleasanton and Livermore that have sustained significant damage from falling trees and flying debris.” Battalion Commander Craig Berchtold estimated to ABC-7 that the detachment was getting closer to 100 and they were struggling to keep up.
Despite an endless stream of service calls, local residents said the department was able to quickly clear most of the trees and debris out of the way.
Resident Ken Mano found a tree in front of his home on Mohr Avenue. “It went down around 1:30 a.m., we weren’t home and were surprised when we got home, luckily it was facing the street and not towards our house,” he told Patch in an email. “Our neighbor called the city and was told he didn’t know when he would get there as trees had fallen all over the city. They came around 3:00 p.m. and at 5:30 p.m. everything was removed. [There are] still some piles off road but kudos to the maintenance guys they did a great job.”
Thousands of residents in Pleasanton were also without power for more than 24 hours beginning at 3:30 p.m., one of the longest and largest power outages in the East Bay. At least 3,143 Pleasanton residents are still without power, an outage that PG&E expects to be fixed around 6 p.m. Wednesday. Livermore, which was subject to some of the strongest winds, saw similarly large outages on Tuesday, but power was mostly restored by the evening.
The failure area as of 3:53 p.m., courtesy of PG&E
Hearst Elementary School, Vintage Hills Elementary School and Pleasanton Middle School lost power, and school at those campuses was canceled Wednesday, according to PUSD spokesman Patrick Gannon. Fallen trees have also been reported at Pleasanton Middle School and Amador Valley High School, although the school takes place wherever there is electricity, Gannon said.
The city also closed its Permit and Business License Center and classes at the Pleasanton Senior Center on Wednesday, although its lunchtime program continued to be available via curbside pickup.
To report fallen trees, flooding or other weather-related hazards, call the Pleasanton Operations Services Department at 924-931-5500 from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Call PG&E at 1-800-743-5000 to report broken power lines and electrical wires. In emergencies, call 911.