Strong gusty winds topple massive tree in Sylmar

Some strong gusty winds caused a massive tree to be uprooted in Sylmar, damaging a couple cars on the street. Some residents think the city's slow response to calls is to blame.

Around 6:00 a.m. Tuesday morning, high winds pushed a very large tree down, smashing two cars on two different sides of the street. One of the cars was a Mercedes, and the other was a vintage Volkswagen buggy, crushing the front end. Despite calls to 3-1-1, the city’s information line, public works crews didn’t arrive for hours, which was enough time for residents to share their frustrations with us.

A few residents made calls to city services regarding the condition of the tree before it fell over.  One resident, Martha Sanchez, made many calls during 2019, telling the city that the tree “was moving back and forth, and it was creaking…creaking sounds.”, but she says the city was not responsive, and she did not see anyone from the city address the issue. 

FOX 11 has learned that the public works department visited this neighborhood in April, May and October, and they say the tree was deemed to be leaning but stable, and the tree was alive and should not be taken down. 

These Sylmar residents are not the only Angelinos dealing with tree issues. Between December 22 and December 30, there were 403 calls to public works about tree issues. Half of those have been handled.  Overall in the city, there are 4,500 dead trees across Los Angeles, and the city takes care of them on a priority basis. 

On Tuesday, the National Weather Service reported high gusts around 40 – 50 miles per hour for the coast and valleys, and up to 65 miles per hour for the mountains. 

If you believe a tree in your neighborhood could topple over or cause severe damage, please file a report at the MyLA311 website, call 3-1-1, or use the MyLA311 App