Two people were able to be rescued — and their car appeared mostly undamaged — after a very big tree fell along Fulton Street Tuesday, bringing power lines down with it, one of which blew out their sunroof.
The vehicle was hit by part of a falling tree at the edge of Golden Gate Park Tuesday afternoon, a tree that was large enough to fall across the entire four-lane street, blocking traffic in both directions. The incident happened on Fulton Street near 19th Avenue.
The San Francisco Fire Department credits the mother and daughter in the car with the wisdom to stay put after an arcing power line hit their car and blew their sunroof out.
"The sunroof window was blown out with an additional electrical arc on the corner of the driver's side window/side view mirror," says SFFD Public Information Officer Captain Jonathan Baxter, in a tweet. "This couple stayed in the car and waited to be rescued, essentially saving their lives."
Couple rescued by #SFFD as live wire and tree land on car. The Sunroof window was blown out with an additional electrical arc on the corner of the driver's side window/side view mirror. This couple stayed in the car and waited to be rescued, essentially saving their lives. https://t.co/0wLOsfSOYY pic.twitter.com/ssInyritD5— SAN FRANCISCO FIRE DEPARTMENT MEDIA (@SFFDPIO) January 10, 2023
Baxter was apparently referring to the potential for electrical charge on the wet ground around the car, and the fact that while inside the car, the mother and daughter were protected by the layer of rubber on their tires between them and the ground.
As SFFD Battalion Chief Glenn Kircher tells KPIX, the mother and daughter made the wisest choice. "Definitely. 100 percent. So they had wires on top of them and there was an arc that was created from that, and if they had stepped out they would have grounded themselves and would've been electrified at that moment, probably with severe injuries or even possible death."
It's not clear how much of the tree has been cleared off of Fulton as of this writing, but the photo of the freed vehicle suggests that much of the fallen tree was removed.
This was one of at least a half dozen fallen tree incidents around the city Tuesday morning amid another round of high winds and heavy rain. In another incident on Post Street near Japantown, a 100-foot tree fell onto and crushed a parked car, but no one was in the car at the time.