For the second time in four years, a large branch has come crashing down from one of the trees in Washington Square Park, injuring park-goers. Thankfully, no one seemed to be seriously injured this time, but a young boy who was among the injured was taken to a hospital for evaluation out of an abundance of caution.
The incident happened during a relatively busy time in the park during the heatwave, just after 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday. As the Chronicle reports, medics from the San Francisco Fire Department responded to the scene at 5:39 p.m. and treated four of the people injured. The video below from the Citizen app shows the aftermath in the park.
KPIX reports that the injured child was two years old.
The branch fell near the Filbert Street side of the park, at the Powell Street corner, and the video shows it was sizable — though it's not immediately clear what type of tree it is.
The accident immediately calls to mind a similar one in August 2016 when a 100-pound tree branch fell on a woman who was sitting on a bench beside the park's playground, watching her two children. The 36-year-old woman, Emma Zhou, was paralyzed in the incident, and the city's Rec & Parks Department later conducted what they said was a thorough inspection of the park's trees to guard against any other unseen vulnerabilities.
Zhou later sued the city over the incident, and her attorney noted that the Canary Island pine trees in the park had dropped "multiple branches" on the playground area in the previous decade. The lawsuit contended that the parks department allowed weakly attached branches to grow back on the trees in more than one case. In 2018, Zhou won a $14.5 million settlement in the case from the city.
Last year, the park underwent a six-month renovation by Rec & Parks, primarily focused on installing a new irrigation system.