Freddy Gracia was in his car when this mature Garry oak from his front yard collapsed on top of him and his house. He escaped injury but his family is now left with a massive cleanup and potential house damage. (Travis Paterson/News staff)

‘Scared the hell out of me,’ Garry oak falls on driver

Saanich family lucky as Garry oak collapses on car, house

Freddy Gracia had just climbed into his car in his Saanich driveway on Thursday when the massive Garry oak from his front yard crashed down on top of him.

“Scared the hell out of me,” said Gracia, who survived the ordeal untouched but is still dealing with the stress. “I couldn’t get out of the car. My door was blocked by branches, I was panicking.”

The tree fell during the heavy rains on Jan. 3. For now the family is unsure exactly why the tree fell.

Gracia was fine, but the roof of his car caved in enough that he had to kick open a passenger door to get out.

“I was waiting for my wife to come out,” Gracia said. “She had just run back in to get something.”

Luck was an understatement. The Gracia home is also a daycare. If it was next week, there very well would have been children playing in the front yard, if not somewhere else the oak crashed as it came onto the house, the yard’s three playhouses, the fence, the car, and other play features.

The family guesses it’s about 100 years old.

“It was here when we bought the house, 35 years ago,” Gracia said. “Scary.”

Read More: Torrential rains top 1936 records in Greater Victoria

Their home insurance provider connect them with Onside Restoration but the company is so busy with fallen trees on Salt Spring Island that they’re hoping to visit Friday or Saturday. With the tree down on the driveway and entrance to the house, Saanich Fire popped a section of the fence out so the family could access the home.

“Onside Restoration will use a crane to hold the tree up so they can cut it,” said family friend Pat Williams who came to stay there. “And it’s [slipped] closer to the house. The only thing supporting it is the fence and a little branch.”

Mariah Gracia, who lives in the home, was standing in front window when she heard a loud crackling noise. The neighbours thought it was an earthquake.

“It was a shock, for sure,” Mariah said. “We had people come a while ago to trim the branches, [away from the electrical lines] and we asked if the tree was okay, and they said it was fine.’

It’s the only place it could have fallen without doing more damage, Mariah said, as it avoided the house and the power lines.

In the meantime, the Garry oak has slipped closer to the house as the bulk of the weight is supported where the trunk rests on the fence and one branch about mid-tree that is stabbed directly into the ground, Mariah said.

There are branches leaning on the roof, over Mariah’s bedroom, and though the roof has not collapsed, Mariah is not sleeping in there until she’s told it’s safe.

reporter@saanichnews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Freddy Gracia was in his car when this mature Garry oak from his front yard collapsed on top of him and his house. He escaped injury but his family is now left with a massive cleanup and potential house damage. (Travis Paterson/News staff)

Freddy Gracia was in his car when this mature Garry oak from his front yard collapsed on top of him and his house. He escaped injury but his family is now left with a massive cleanup and potential house damage. (Travis Paterson/News staff)

Freddy Gracia was in his car when this mature Garry oak from his front yard collapsed on top of him and his house. He escaped injury but his family is now left with a massive cleanup and potential house damage. (Travis Paterson/News staff)

Freddy Gracia was in his car when this mature Garry oak from his front yard collapsed on top of him and his house. He escaped injury but his family is now left with a massive cleanup and potential house damage. (Travis Paterson/News staff)

Just Posted

Ancient microbes discovered off the Juan de Fuca Ridge potentially offers glimpse into alien life

The marine bacteria is dependent on hydrogen, a compound present almost everywhere

Volunteers needed for annual Mother’s Day walk

Breast Cancer Society of Canada hosts annual Mother’s Day event

Saanich rental project wins silver by going ‘green’

The Verve rental housing project stands at the corner of Boleskine Road and Whittier Avenue

Sidney Lions dish $4,000 to help build on growing trishaw bike charity

Cycling Without Age Society draws attention as far off as Washington

420 celebrations turn over new leaf at B.C. legislature

Cannabis is legal for the first time in the 21-year existence of the 420 event in Victoria

WATCH: Movie star and PACE alum Calum Worthy talks musical theatre and his career

“American Vandal” and “Austin and Ally” actor has been returning to the program for over 20 years

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

Global Affairs warns Canadians in Sri Lanka there could be more attacks

A series of bomb blasts killed at least 207 people and injured hundreds more

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

Most Read