Boy Still Critical, Girl Improving After Tree Falls Near Kidspace Museum In Pasadena

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(CNS) - A "private, independent" arborist was hired by the city to inspect a five-story-tall pine tree that collapsed on a group of
children near the Kidspace Children's Museum, critically injuring two of them, but there was still no immediate word on why the tree fell.

The tree fell shortly before 5 p.m. Tuesday near the museum at 480 N. Arroyo Blvd., near the Rose Bowl, injuring the elementary-school-age children. Six children were treated at the scene and released, while two were taken to Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center in critical condition.

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Hospital officials said one of the children remains in critical condition, while the other is listed in serious condition. A third child was also treated and released Tuesday night, according to the hospital. The area around the accident site has been secured and will remain closed to the public until further notice.

Pasadena spokesman William Boyer said the outside arborist, along with an arborist who works in the city's Department of Public Works, were continuing to examine the tree, and no conclusions were expected today.

The city's arborist conducted a preliminary assessment of the downed tree Tuesday and could find "no conclusive reasons for its fall," according to the city.

"On behalf of the city, I want to extend our thoughts and prayers to the injured children, especially those still hospitalized, and their families," Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek said. "We are praying for their full recovery.

"Our public spaces, especially the Arroyo, are unique and draw thousands of visitors each day, so it is a priority for the city to maintain both the beauty and safety of our parks and open spaces for all to enjoy," Tornek said.

"The summer camp was at the end of the day during pickup," Shanklin said. "Some parents had been there to pick up their children, others were on the way. When I received word that there was a tree that fell over and some of the Kidspace children ... were affected by the tree falling, we got staff on site immediately to clear the scene, get children out of harm's way. And at that point we got a headcount and ensured that we did have accountability for all children, and that's really when the first responders -- who did a fabulous job -- arrived on scene."

Fire crews and members of an urban search and rescue team used chain saws to cut through the tree limbs to ensure nobody was trapped under the
fallen tree. Shanklin said the tree was in a nearby park and not on the museum's property.

The museum was open for business today. According to the city, "Pasadena has an `urban forest' of about 60,000 city-owned trees in parks, open spaces, along city streets and at public buildings. The city conducts regular maintenance and care for all of the city trees. The city has continued to maintain the grass, trees and vegetation in all city parks during the drought.

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