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VENTURA COUNTY NEWS

Falling Oak Branch Hurts 3 People

August 03, 2000|HOLLY J. WOLCOTT

OJAI — A large oak tree branch at Ojai's Libbey Park fell Wednesday night during a live concert and injured three women, the Ventura County Fire Department reported.

The incident occurred about 8:30 p.m. at the downtown park in the 300 block of east Ojai Avenue, authorities said. Two women suffered moderate injuries and one was listed with minor injuries.

The identities and conditions of the injured were not immediately available, but Joe Luna, a Fire Department spokesman, said they were taken by ambulance to Ojai Valley Hospital. No broken bones were reported.

The branch was described as 1 foot in diameter and more than 24 feet long. Luna said the women suffered glancing blows and that the branch snapped in half on impact with the ground.

"Had the full weight of the branch hit them, it would have hurt somebody very seriously or could have killed somebody," Luna said.

The tree had not been pruned recently, but Luna said it was not one of the trees at the park that have been the subject of controversy since the start of the year.

In March, two oaks at the park were felled, sparking protests from local environmental activists who claimed the city failed to fully assess how sick the trees were before cutting them.

In late May, another oak, with branches over seats at the park's Libbey Bowl, was cut down after tree doctors diagnosed it as terminally ill. And on May 28, 10 people were injured when a giant oak tree split in half and collapsed on a group picnicking in a courtyard at World University of America, a small, private university near downtown Ojai.

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