Freddy Gracia was in his car when this mature Garry oak from his front yard collapsed on top of him and his house. He escaped injury but his family is now left with a massive cleanup and potential house damage. (Travis Paterson/News staff)

‘Scared the hell out of me,’ Garry oak falls on driver

Saanich family lucky as Garry oak collapses on car, house

Freddy Gracia had just climbed into his car in his Saanich driveway on Thursday when the massive Garry oak from his front yard crashed down on top of him.

“Scared the hell out of me,” said Gracia, who survived the ordeal untouched but is still dealing with the stress. “I couldn’t get out of the car. My door was blocked by branches, I was panicking.”

The tree fell during the heavy rains on Jan. 3. For now the family is unsure exactly why the tree fell.

Gracia was fine, but the roof of his car caved in enough that he had to kick open a passenger door to get out.

“I was waiting for my wife to come out,” Gracia said. “She had just run back in to get something.”

Luck was an understatement. The Gracia home is also a daycare. If it was next week, there very well would have been children playing in the front yard, if not somewhere else the oak crashed as it came onto the house, the yard’s three playhouses, the fence, the car, and other play features.

The family guesses it’s about 100 years old.

“It was here when we bought the house, 35 years ago,” Gracia said. “Scary.”

Read More: Torrential rains top 1936 records in Greater Victoria

Their home insurance provider connect them with Onside Restoration but the company is so busy with fallen trees on Salt Spring Island that they’re hoping to visit Friday or Saturday. With the tree down on the driveway and entrance to the house, Saanich Fire popped a section of the fence out so the family could access the home.

“Onside Restoration will use a crane to hold the tree up so they can cut it,” said family friend Pat Williams who came to stay there. “And it’s [slipped] closer to the house. The only thing supporting it is the fence and a little branch.”

Mariah Gracia, who lives in the home, was standing in front window when she heard a loud crackling noise. The neighbours thought it was an earthquake.

“It was a shock, for sure,” Mariah said. “We had people come a while ago to trim the branches, [away from the electrical lines] and we asked if the tree was okay, and they said it was fine.’

It’s the only place it could have fallen without doing more damage, Mariah said, as it avoided the house and the power lines.

In the meantime, the Garry oak has slipped closer to the house as the bulk of the weight is supported where the trunk rests on the fence and one branch about mid-tree that is stabbed directly into the ground, Mariah said.

There are branches leaning on the roof, over Mariah’s bedroom, and though the roof has not collapsed, Mariah is not sleeping in there until she’s told it’s safe.

reporter@saanichnews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Freddy Gracia was in his car when this mature Garry oak from his front yard collapsed on top of him and his house. He escaped injury but his family is now left with a massive cleanup and potential house damage. (Travis Paterson/News staff)

Freddy Gracia was in his car when this mature Garry oak from his front yard collapsed on top of him and his house. He escaped injury but his family is now left with a massive cleanup and potential house damage. (Travis Paterson/News staff)

Freddy Gracia was in his car when this mature Garry oak from his front yard collapsed on top of him and his house. He escaped injury but his family is now left with a massive cleanup and potential house damage. (Travis Paterson/News staff)

Freddy Gracia was in his car when this mature Garry oak from his front yard collapsed on top of him and his house. He escaped injury but his family is now left with a massive cleanup and potential house damage. (Travis Paterson/News staff)

Just Posted

‘Blue Monday’ isn’t real, but depression can be

CMHA encourages people to prioritize their mental health

Sooke Potholes viewing area likely to remain closed

Report says that more rockslides likely in the area

Residents push back on downtown Victoria tree removal

The birch tree at the Wharf-Government intersection will be removed to make way for bike lanes

Husband of slain RCMP officer ‘disgusted and disheartened’ by parole board

Killer of Const. Sarah Beckett allowed limited day parole for alcohol treatment

Sooke school adds wrestling to sports lineup

Journey Middle School team already bringing home medals

UPDATE: B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, personal expense claims

Speaker Darryl Plecas’ report details ‘flagrant overspending’

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change

Stand.earth filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Teen in confrontation with Native American: I didn’t provoke

Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic High School said he was trying to defuse the situation

Suspect allegedly armed with handgun robs Island gas station

Incident occurred Sunday night in Nanaimo

MARS seeing influx of sick, injured eagles from north part of Vancouver Island

Factors for increase in eagle cases can be anything from lead poisoning to vehicle strikes

Kamala Harris opens U.S. presidential bid in challenge to Trump

The 54-year old portrayed herself as a fighter for justice, decency and equality in a video distributed by her campaign

Woman offers luxury Alberta home for just $25 and a flair for the written word

Alla Wagner ran into health problems, which forced her to list the 5,000-square-foot estate at market value

Most Read