PHILADELPHIA (CBS) –A chaotic scene unfolded at a high school reunion after a tree fell on partygoers. The fallen tree at Fairmount Park injured at least eight people.
“All of a sudden, we heard this ‘Crack, crack, crack,’ a sound I never heard before,” Charles Miller, a West Philadelphia High School graduate, said. “And we thought a couple branches was falling, but it was the whole tree.”
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Video and pictures captured by eyewitnesses show the panic and chaos at Fairmount Park after a large tree landed on a group of guests at the annual West Philadelphia High School alumni weekend.
“You couldn’t see because of the tree,” Darylynn Smoot, a West Philly High alumna, said. “The tree branches, they cut a lot of it off. All the trees and stuff was all over everybody. So they had to literally lift the trees up and start moving the trees.”
Philadelphia police and firefighters got the call around 12:20 p.m. and quickly joined a group of bystanders digging through the debris for victims.
In the end, fire officials found eight people had suffered injuries, including one person who was trapped under the tree and had to be freed.
“We’re really grateful because if it had happened an hour later, it would have been twice as many people hurt and possibly somebody dead,” Bonnie Poole Lindr, a West Philadelphia High School alumna, said.
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No one died, but police say six civilians between the ages of 66 and 67 had to be taken to local hospitals for treatment.
Witnesses say as scary as the situation was, many of the men in attendance did not hesitate to help, immediately running toward the tree and trying to save those buried beneath the branches.
“All you could see was all the guys running,” Smoot said. “And they were all picking up the trees and getting everybody out, calling 911. Everybody just did their part.”
After this tree unexpectedly fell over, many guests are worried about other trees in the park, and they’re calling on the city to make it safer.
“The city needs to come out and inspect these trees,” one woman said. “There’s one right there getting ready to fall down. We pay a lot of tax money.”
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“You can look around at the trees and you can see, like that one, hopefully, that don’t come down,” Smoot said.