Community pleads for help after tree falls on Castro Valley home, severely injuring father of 4

"You can't stay home now, because you're scared and nobody is helping," said Heather Gonzalez, who was also inside with the kids.

J.R. Stone Image
Wednesday, January 18, 2023
Father of 4 severely injured after tree falls on Castro Valley home
A father is severely injured and his family of six is left without a home after a massive tree fell onto their house in Castro Valley.

CASTRO VALLEY, Calif. (KGO) -- Those living in a Castro Valley neighborhood are demanding that Alameda County act quickly to remove trees that they believe pose a threat to homes. This comes a week and a half a tree fell onto a home and left the father inside with serious injuries.

The massive eucalyptus tree that fell is still sitting in the middle of that Castro Valley home on Sandy Road a week and a half later. The family living there, which includes four kids and their mom and dad, are now homeless. The father who was hit by the tree and rescued, is still in the hospital.

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"He was pinned under the tree, literally right under luckily the couch and a wall behind it kind of supported the entire thing. He was responsive the entire time so he could tell them 'I could breathe.' They took their time to really figure it out, cut him out of there," said Heather Gonzalez who was also inside with their four kids. The tree came down on their father who was sitting alone on the couch watching the Raiders vs. Chiefs game.

"Just hear this huge, well really, I felt the shake and I thought it was an earthquake, and I was like nobody move aftershock. Then one of our middle kids comes in and he's screaming you know, daddy is screaming! There is debris everywhere and I see this huge trunk crossing my living room and that's when it dawns on me that a tree fell and it's massive as I get closer," said Gonzalez.

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The aunt of 2-year-old Aeon, nicknamed Goldie, says he was an infectiously happy child, loved to dance, and always knew how to put a smile on the faces of his loving family. Click for a link to the family's GoFundMe.

She says the focus and concern, outside of her partner working to walk again, is now on the other big trees bordering the Kelly Canyon Creek, what's left of her home, and many other houses. Half a dozen neighbors living in homes near the trees told us no county or city officials have talked with them about possible removal.

"Who is going to take care of this? We don't just want a blind eye to be thrown to this situation," said Bonnie Frisvold of Castro Valley.

"When it's a public nuisance, that means this tree could fall over hit my house, hit the sidewalk, hit the street. The street and sidewalk is owned by the county so of course it's a public nuisance," said Carol Allen of Castro Valley.

We reached out to Alameda County Public Works about the issue but have not heard back. Nearly a thousand people have signed a petition asking that the county act immediately.

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"You should be safe at home and you can't stay home now, because you're scared and nobody is helping - we need help and they need to step up!" said Gonzalez.

The process to remove the tree that fell will start up at 8 a.m. Wednesday. Neighbors who have come together say part of another nearby tree on that same creek will be removed Wednesday, too. It cost those neighbors around $12,000.

If you'd like to help Heather and her family who are now without a home, you can visit their GoFundMe here.

If you'd like to sign the petition asking the county to act, visit here.

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