As North Bay braces for potential flooding, family identifies 2-year-old killed by falling tree

ByCornell Barnard KGO logo
Friday, January 6, 2023
North Bay braces for flooding; 2-year-old killed in storm identified
As the North Bay braces for potential flooding, the family of the 2-year-old boy killed by a falling tree releases his identity.

OCCIDENTAL, Calif. (KGO) -- In the North Bay, all eyes are on creeks, streams, and the rising Russian River, which could reach flood stage by this weekend.

A 2-and-a-half-year-old boy has died after a redwood tree fell on a double-wide mobile home on Wednesday evening in Sonoma County as a massive storm pummeled the state, authorities say.

The incident occurred in Occidental as hurricane-force winds battered parts of California as part of the "bomb cyclone" that has also brought heavy rains and flooding, according to Ron Lunardi, the fire chief in Occidental.

The toddler has been identified by his family through a GoFundMe as Aeon Tocchini. According to the website, Aeon who was also known as "Goldie" shined like the sun. They say he loved to "dance, music moved his soul. He was kind, gentle, and had the most loving spirit."

LIVE UPDATES: Multiple deaths, including toddler, blamed on Wednesday's storm

"One of our major incidents we've had involved a redwood tree falling on a house ... and we had a fatality up there of a minor -- infant, actually. A one-to-two-year old infant," Lunardi said in an interview.

The child was home with his mother and his father when the accident happened, Lunardi said.

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"When I first arrived on scene, a frantic father came out of the house holding the child. He was kind of covered in debris and he said my child is not breathing," Lunardi said. "We are in a rural location out here so my first thought was get him into my truck and let's get him out to the main road because he is on a long dirt driveway. I got the father into the truck. As I was backing up down the driveway in reverse I was giving him instructions to breathe his child for him and as we did we got back out to the main road where I met the rescue squad and they immediately grabbed the child from the father and started CPR and waited for the paramedics to get there."

Neither the mother nor the father of the child were injured when the tree fell but the young boy succumbed to the injuries he suffered in the accident.

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"Any time you have a situation like this, especially with a child, everybody's emotions are a lot higher," Lunardi said.

Damaging winds gusts of at least 50 mph were forecast Wednesday night and gusts of up to 70 mph are possible near Northern California's coast, according to the National Weather Service. Flooding rain, damaging winds and mudslides will also be possible across the state over the next several days.

As mentioned above the family has set up a GoFundMe to help Aeon's family through this difficult time, if you have the means and would like to donate head to this website.

Highway 116, the road to Guerneville was wet, windy and treacherous. Wednesday's storm knocked out power to most of the town, but that's not the biggest worry here.

Outlaw Barber and Beauty owner Berlin Fisher was grabbing as many sandbags and as he could, ready to protect his business from the rising Russian River.

"The water comes from behind, not the river. it comes from the creek behind us, so we seal the doors in back, we didn't do that last time," Fisher said.

Last time was 2019, when floodwaters inundated Guerneville leaving Berlin's salon with extensive damage.

"We're going to put tape up inside and out our windows and hopefully it will save our shop," said business owner Theresa Emory.

Sandbags are in big demand at Sonoma Landworks.

"I know yesterday, we did 600 something, day before 500, so we've been keeping that pace if not more," said Blake Matteson.

Sonoma County Supervisor Lynda Hopkins says, the Russian River is rising, although remains below flood stage, the next storm is likely to change that.

"It's not a matter of if the river floods, it's when. There won't be any time for the river to go down between atmospheric river events," said Supervisor Hopkins.

ABC News contributed to this article.

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