EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

December 24, 2012

Man pinned by tree limb dies

Worker fell from branch, which landed on top him

By Paul Tennant
ptennant@eagletribune.com

---- — HAVERHILL — The man who was pinned under a large tree branch in a North Avenue yard Monday afternoon is dead, but police are still not releasing his name.

Investigators did give out some information about the man, who was working for a tree removal company when he was killed. He was 32 years and lived in Hampton, N.H., said Carrie Kimball-Monahan, spokeswoman for the district attorney's office.

She said it appears the man was working on a branch of the tree when he fell to the ground and the branch landed on him. He was taken to Lawrence General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, she said.

Officials will not release his name until his relatives are notified of his death. The investigation into the accident is continuing, Kimball-Monahan said.

Witnesses said the man suffered severe injuries to his legs.

The accident happened in the yard of a home at 133 North Ave. The man was taken from the scene shortly after 2 p.m. Monday and rushed to Lawrence General Hospital's trauma center.

Witnesses said a large tree, which recently was damaged in a storm, was was being removed by Plante's Tree Removal Takedown company. A truck bearing the company name was at the scene.

When contacted by The Eagle-Tribune, Eileen Woelfel, who owns the house at 133 North Ave. with her husband, Brian Woelfel, said, "We hired someone to take the tree down. I don't want to talk about it."

Part of the large tree in the Woelfels' front yard crashed onto power lines and snapped a utility pole on Oct. 29 while Hurricane Sandy was raging. When the pole fell, its electrical transformer landed in the street and exploded, Brian Woelfel said at that time. The electrical service was ripped from the Woelfels' house as well as three others.

After Monday's accident, police blocked off North Avenue between Marsh Avenue and Sagamore Place and surrounded the area with "crime scene'' tape. A chain saw was on the ground near the fallen tree.

A man at the scene said he called 911 immediately after the accident. He said another worker at the scene yelled, "One of my guys is under the tree!"

A pickup truck at the scene was put on a ramp truck and removed from the scene by investigators.

Efforts to contact Plante's Tree Removal Takedown company were unsuccessful. The company is not listed in the phone directory and police refused to let a reporter get close enough to the scene to talk to company workers.