Updated 08/11/14 – 6:14 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — A woman was trapped under a huge tree in north suburban Wilmette when it fell on her as she was walking her dog Monday morning.
CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports the woman was walking her dog near 5th Street and Greenleaf Avenue shortly before 8 a.m., when a 65-foot tree fell on her. The tree split about 6 feet up its trunk, much of which was hollow and rotting.
“Obviously, the condition of the tree had a lot to do with it. We didn’t have any higher winds than normal this morning,” Wilmette Fire Lt. Robert Brill said. “The tree has been decaying for some time, and apparently let go this morning.”
The was hit only by the tree’s smaller, outermost limbs, avoiding much more serious injury if she’d been hit by the trunk. However, she could not get herself out from under the tree until police officers arrived and lifted some of the branches away.
That woman was home from the hospital just hours after the incident and is expected to be ok. The dog was not hurt.
Dale Melton was delivering a dish washer across the street.
“She was just pinned – it was like long ways – it was like three branches pinning her to the ground,” Melton said. “She was lucid but very shaken and she had a big knot on her head and was scratched up but I think she’s going to be fine.”
Late Monday morning, tree removal crews were hard at work, cutting up and removing the rest of the tree.
CBS 2 has been told the tree was inspected less than a year ago – and was never flagged as dangerous, but one look inside and it’s evident this estimated 100-year-old tree was completely hollow inside.
“Trees of this age often times hollow on the inside,” said Robert Milani with the Chalet Nursery.
Milani says the only way to know for sure if a tree is healthy is routine tests.
“Just by freak occurrence this might have happened but every tree is different, every situation is different,” said Milani.
Chalet Nursery experts say the best way to keep check on your trees is to get them regularly pruned and trimmed so arborists can get up close to the branches.
Trees can also be cabled to prevent them from splitting.