Woman leaves home before 50-foot tree falls: 'I had a premonition'

California Woman Leaves Home Before Tree Crash: 'I Had a Premonition'
California Woman Leaves Home Before Tree Crash: 'I Had a Premonition'

ELK GROVE, Calif. (KCRA) - To label what happened at an Elk Grove home on Tuesday afternoon as a "close call" might be an understatement -- as a three-decades-old tree toppled into Tracy Tillotson's house.

Tillotson, the homeowner, sensed something before the pine tree came down on Celery Court.

Watch report: Tree falls onto Elk Grove home

"I had a premonition," she told KCRA 3. "Something told me to leave the home, so I left for about 10 minutes. And I came back and the tree was in my house."

Strong winds knocked down trees across Northern California on Tuesday. Two people died in two separate Butte County incidents. And in Davis, a teenage driver escaped serious injury but was still hospitalized after a tree came down on his SUV while driving on Seventh Street.

In Folsom, among other cities, as many as 5,000 people lost power due to a blown transformer. Wind-related issues were rampant by the evening hours.

As for Tillotson, one next-door neighbor heard the crash into her home and came out to look at the damage.

"(I) heard like crack, and something -- like an earthquake or something -- and then, bang! I actually thought something fell on our house," Nicky Slobodnjak said.

Photos: Damaging winds topple trees, cause power outages

No one was hurt in Elk Grove. And fortunately, the tree just missed hitting the buried gas lines in the home's front yard. Crews said fracturing of the tree roughly halfway up helped limit the damage.

Still, "it fell onto our bedroom," Tillotson said. "So, there's damage into our bedroom, the skylight and then there's branches coming into our son's room, which is on the other side of our bedroom."

Fire crews spent much of the evening shoring up the inside of the house to stabilize its structure.

"We had a lot of rain earlier this week, which certainly softened the ground, and today we have significant wind gusts -- so I'm certain that that contributed to the fall," said Tracy Hansen, fire chief of the Consumnes Fire Department.

Tillotson realized the reality of the situation.

"Nobody was hurt," she said. "It stayed on our property (and didn't hit any) vehicles, (or people or animals), so I'm thankful for that."

As for the Folsom power outage, at last check, about 5,000 customers remained in the dark. There's no word on when crews expect full restoration. The outage is mostly impacting people on the city's north side.

A tree fell on a power line at Blue Ravine Road and Prairie City, officials said. Several traffic lights nearby were out Tuesday evening, as well.

Anyone with questions is asked to call the Sacramento Municipal Utilities District at 888-456-SMUD.

It took crews several hours to clear Interstate 80 in Vallejo after trees and lines came down on the highway. All lanes were reopened by 7:30 p.m.

And in Sacramento County, specifically on Winding Way near Martsmith Way, a huge sequoia tree fell on some wires. Crews from SMUD, Sac Metro Fire and the county worked to clear the debris Tuesday afternoon.

The tree blocked Winding Way and the road was closed not far from Hazel Avenue. No damage was noted to any houses or cars, but two power poles appear to have snapped just after 1:30 p.m. due to all the tension on the lines.

A SMUD crew member told one neighbor in the area that she might not have power restored until Wednesday.

The general manager of the Bass Lake Golf Course also emailed KCRA 3 some photos from the 18th hole. An oak tree nearly 300 years old came down this afternoon. No golfers were hurt.

The golf course is in Rescue, not far from El Dorado Hills, GM Jeremy Harris said.

And it's not just windy conditions causing concern.

In Elk Grove, Sacramento and the Stockton region, warming shelters will open Tuesday night. With temperatures expected to drop into the 30s, Sacramento's facility will run from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. at the Southside Pool House, 2107 6th St.

In San Joaquin County, shelters will be set up throughout Stockton, and in Lodi and Tracy.

Elk Grove's facility opens at 10 p.m. and will stay open through 7 a.m. at the Barbara Morse Wackford Community and Aquatic Complex, 9014 Bruceville Road.

Several park closures have come into the newsroom, as well -- including the Oak Grove Regional Park and the Micke Grove Regional Park.

KCRA 3's Claire Doan contributed to this report.

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