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

Province announces more improvements for Highway 14

$85-million project made possible through federal funding support

Wild Wise Sooke founder leaves post

Lush Cosmetics offers much-needed funding for the group

UVic partners with harm reduction groups to run a drug checking pilot project

The three-year pilot will allow people to test their drugs for fatal ingredients like fentanyl

Public asked to give feedback on proposed protection measures for southern resident orcas

Measures focus on key threats related to contaminants, lack of prey, noise or physical disturbance

Many teens unaware if they’re vaping nicotine or not

Health Canada survey finds many youth are unaware of the risks of using nicotine products

WATCH: Police call Happy Valley shooting an ‘isolated and targeted’ incident

One person in custody, another fled following crash on Kelly Road

Woe, Canada: Bruins down Maple Leafs 5-1 in Game 7

No Canadian teams left in Stanley Cup playoffs

Music Monday to unite students across Sooke in song

Over 200 students will carol around town on May 6

B.C. men challenge constitutionality of Canada’s secret no-fly list

Parvkar Singh Dulai says he received a “denial of boarding” notification under the no-fly program last May 17

Murder on B.C. property didn’t need to be disclosed before sale, court rules

Buyer had tried to break contract after learning a man with ties to crime had been murdered there

POLL: Do you think the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris should be rebuilt?

Images of one of the word’s most iconic landmarks were seared into… Continue reading

B.C.’s largest Vaisakhi festival target of threatening Facebook post: Surrey RCMP

Police say they are investigating the posts on Facebook, after local MLA forwarded screenshots

Pug life: B.C. town boasts waggish list of dog names

Freedom-of-information request lists most ‘pupular’ dog names registered in White Rock

Most Read