Man killed by fallen eucalyptus tree at San Rafael home

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People in a North Bay neighborhood are questioning their safety after a freak accident killed a man who was gardening in his backyard. (KGO-TV)

People in a neighborhood are questioning their safety after a freak accident killed a man who was gardening in his backyard.

Crews in San Rafael responded to the scene of a fallen tree that killed a man.

A 75-foot-tall eucalyptus tree cracked at the base of its trunk and toppled not onto the house, but directly onto a 77-year-old man who was out in his backyard watering and digging. The 911 call came in at 3:20 p.m. Friday.

"The owner of the property was underneath the tree. Pinned under the tree, unconscious," said Jeff Rowan of the San Rafael Fire Department. "We were able to remove him from under the tree and attempted to resuscitate him at the scene and unfortunately were unsuccessful."

David Lumbard died. Shocked neighbors and friends Saturday came through the gated driveway up in the steep wooded San Rafael neighborhood with views of the Bay. Groves of eucalyptus trees are everywhere and in every yard.

"The eucs are among the biggest. We always look up at them and wonder. It's kind of terrifying one could fall over and kill someone like that," said neighbor Tom Bair.

Bair pointed out the leaning trees in his yard and the remnants of one that came crashing down on his driveway during a winter rainstorm, narrowly missing their cars.

Coroner investigators say the fallen tree had started leaning toward Lumbard's house over the last few months.
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