UPDATE: Man ran from car to escape falling tree

Tree fallen on car in The Birches, Three Bridges
Tree fallen on car in The Birches, Three Bridges

A man ran from his car to escape a falling tree.

Firefighters were called to The Birches, in Three Bridges, at about 9pm yesterday (Thursday November 19) after a tree fell hitting a car and damaging two homes.

The tree had been reported to West Sussex County Council earlier that day by residents after concerns it was ‘due to fall down’.

Residents said the driver of the car escaped moments before the tree collapsed and were relieved no-one had been injured.

A neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: “He started taking his car out of the drive as he was worried the tree would fall. He drove it and parked it on the road and as he came out of his car the whole tree fell on it. He had to run as it fell.”

She added: “I was watching TV and I heard what was like a crackling sound. I thought it was fireworks and then I heard a thump. When I came outside my drive was blocked with tree branches.”

The tree got caught in the telephone lines pulling out wires as it fell.

The front gutter of the house occupied by the man who escaped his car was ripped out and another property had its guttering damaged. Both homes have been left without Internet or phone lines.

Saliah Malik, who lives at the other damaged property, said: “I heard this massive loud bang. We looked out the window and saw the guy with the car and he was shocked.

“It was pretty horrific. Luckily nobody was injured.”

Crawley Borough Council confirmed the tree was the responsibility of West Sussex County Council and had been reported previously.

Mary Grace, a former Three Bridges Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator who lives along the road, said she had spoken to a tree surgeon who came out to view the tree last Tuesday. She said she had been told it could not be taken down due to costs and would not move.

She said: “It was being held by people’s phones lines. It was appalling.

“You could see it, each week, moving, not a lot, but I reported it over two weeks ago to the community wardens.

“Thank God it didn’t come down during the day, especially when the kids are coming home. They all walk down that road.”

A county council spokesman said: “Our officers inspected the tree on Tuesday, November 17, and on Thursday, November 19.

“Following both inspections, it was judged the tree did not need to be felled immediately. It was due to be removed in the next three weeks. This action followed county council procedure.”

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