Neighbors jump in to help San Mateo Co. man trapped by large fallen tree

"For about four hours, there was like an army of people out here with chainsaws," Newsom said.

Gloria Rodríguez Image
Tuesday, February 20, 2024
Neighbors jump in to help Montara man trapped by fallen tree
Neighbors jump in to help a Montara man trapped in his property by a fallen tree during the Bay Area storm.

MONTARA, Calif. (KGO) -- A bad storm brought down two large trees outside Richard Newsom's house in Montara almost two weeks ago.

"I heard a snap and then about 10 or 15-20 minutes later, somewhere in there, I heard this huge thump - that you feel the whole house shake when things this big come down and there were two of them," Newsom said.

Newsom was trapped, unable to get out of his driveway. His car was smashed. Then something incredible happened.

"For about four hours, there was like an army of people out here with chainsaws," Newsom said. "For the most part, I knew who they were but some people came that I didn't even know - with chainsaws."

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Neighbors like Gary and Nancy Smith jumped in to help.

"We just came out and I just started cutting and piling the debris on the edge of the street," Gary Smith said. "I know county and fire and everybody else is really busy and so it's important for us to be self-sufficient."

"This was during the storm," Nancy Smith said. "So it was still windy and rainy, heavy rains, but people kept helping even despite the weather."

The Smith's RV was damaged but thankfully nobody was hurt.

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About 10 people showed up, including Scott Lueck.

"It was very heartwarming and it was nice to see so many diverse people from all over in this area come together," Lueck said.

It all happened on Harte Street and heart is certainly something the community showed that day.

"It was just amazing, they're like little angels that came out of nowhere," Nancy Smith said.

"It made me a cry a little bit," Newsom said. "I mean it was like being George Bailey in 'It's A wonderful Life,' when everybody shows up to just help him. That's how it felt. It was a community thing. This whole community was amazing, absolutely amazing."

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