‘It was a miracle no one was killed’: Car owners’ shock as tree falls in Washington street

From left to right, car owners Kevin Coombs and Mark Taylor.

From left to right, car owners Kevin Coombs and Mark Taylor.

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The owner of a car crushed when an 80ft tree fell in Washington has said it was a “miracle” no one was killed in the incident.

The willow tree crashed to the ground in Lumley Close, Oxclose, at about 6.30pm on Thursday.

Car owner Kevin Coombs said it was a "miracle" no one was killed when the tree fell.

Car owner Kevin Coombs said it was a "miracle" no one was killed when the tree fell.

While two parked cars were damaged in the fall, no one was injured.

Gentoo Group, which owns the tree, has said it was diseased, and will now inspect similar trees to ensure they are not suffering from the same problem.

A BMW 1 Series car belonging to Kevin Coombs, 51, was one of those crushed in the incident.

He said: “It was an absolute shock.

It was a miracle no one was killed

Kevin Coombs

“I just couldn’t believe what I saw initially. Trees don’t just fall.

“It was like something out of a movie.

“It was a miracle no one was killed.

“I’m just thankful that no one was hurt, because this could have been a totally different story.”

The tree fell at about 6.30pm on Thursday. Image by Amy Anderson and Danielle ONeill.

The tree fell at about 6.30pm on Thursday. Image by Amy Anderson and Danielle ONeill.

Mr Coombs added: “It’s quite a busy street, and there could have easily been someone driving along, or walking in that area.

“There are a lot of trees in the street, and Gentoo are going to have to check them all now in case any more have the same problem.

“We just don’t want it to happen again.

“The cars are total write-offs but no one was injured, and that’s the main thing.”

Car owner Kevin Coombs said it was a "miracle" no one was killed when the tree fell.

Car owner Kevin Coombs said it was a "miracle" no one was killed when the tree fell.

The other car belonged to couple Simone Neil, 22, and Mark Taylor, 28.

Miss Neil said: “The structural damage to the two cars is so much that they will both probably never be on the roads again.

“My partner had just got in the house and heard a big noise outside.

“He soon realised that the car had been crushed by the tree.”

The car owners are now waiting on the result of a Gentoo investigation before receiving insurance pay-outs.

Steve Lanaghan, assistant chief executive at Gentoo Group, said: “We were notified on Thursday evening that a large willow tree had fallen in Lumley Close, Oxclose and that Sunderland City Council’s emergency services team were in attendance.

From left to right, car owners Mark Taylor and Kevin Coombs.

From left to right, car owners Mark Taylor and Kevin Coombs.

“We’ve since felled the remainder of the tree, ensuring the area is safe for local residents and the road has now been cleared.

“We are currently inspecting similar trees to identify any potential further disease.”

The tree fell at about 6.30pm on Thursday.

The tree fell at about 6.30pm on Thursday.