As the husband of a woman who was paralyzed by a falling tree branch asks San Francisco to take better care of its aging trees, a neighborhood group that partners with the city on tree maintenance is set to meet. (KGO-TV)
By Carolyn Tyler
Updated 1 hr 58 mins ago
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The husband of a woman who was paralyzed by a falling tree branch in San Francisco is asking the city to take better care of its aging trees. A neighborhood group that partners with the city on tree maintenance is meeting on Wednesday night.
The San Francisco Recreation & Parks Department says it has about 150 neighborhood groups that partner with it to take care of the city's parks. But after the horrible accident, you can imagine there's some extra scrutiny at Washington Square Park.
Jian Cong Tan says his family's life went from heaven to hell the day his wife was critically injured. A 100 pound tree branch at Washington Square crashed. Doctors say 36-year-old Ciu Ying Zhou will never walk again.
"She told me she wants to die," said her husband. "I say, 'No, no.'"
City workers are taking stock of the trees in the square.
They say the canary island pine that fell was healthy. That species was pruned in 2013 after a neighborhood organization, Friends of Washington Square, donated $10,000 to Rec & Park.
"Our collaboration with the department has been good," said Ken Maley with Friends of Washington Square. "But we've also learned the department is really stressed with its crew and that means it doesn't have the budget to expand."
Maley says his group developed the first long-term tree maintenance program for the square back in 2008, and will meet Wednesday night to update the strategy. He believes the recent accident has prompted greater attention from the city.
"It's sort of moved us up on the list," he said.
The mayor has visited the victim in the hospital and her husband hopes the city will make tree safety a priority.
"(Make sure) it's just not going to happen again to another family," he said.
Experts say trees should be pruned every 15 years. However, according to a report by the nonprofit Parks Alliance, San Francisco has only enough arborists to prune its 177,000 trees once a century.
A GoFundMe page has been set up for the family. If you'd like to help, click here.
Tree branch falls on woman in San Francisco park, causes severe injuries
Sky7 HD was over the scene at Washington Square Park in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood Friday afternoon, shortly after the tree limb fell on the woman.
As a city worker cut apart the massive tree branch. Police officers collected the bags left on the bench by the woman who was hit.
"The branch fell and we believe hit her in the head and when we arrived she was in and out of consciousness," said San Francisco police Capt. David Lazar.
She was sitting on the bench watching her two children on the playground. They were uninjured. She was rushed to San Francisco General Hospital with life threatening injuries.
According to the fire department, she was bleeding from a head wound. A neighbor said she's horrified at this accident, but she's not surprised.
"I think it is always a matter of time and wind. These branches have been falling off, just takes a windy day for a branch to come loose," said neighbor Katherine Dawson.
Just before the tree branch was cut up, city workers took measurements of the limb. It was 19 inches around.
The recreation and park director of operations says it's been six years since these trees were evaluated.
"Looking at the tree itself we've seen it has moisture content and that the wood is very healthy," said Dennis Kern of the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department.
This is not the first time a branch has injured or even killed someone in the city. In 2008, a woman was killed in Stern Grove by a falling limb.
As crews were cleaning up the accident scene Friday they noticed another broken branch on the same tree, so they called in a cherry picker to cut it down.