California Redwood Tree Nearly Crush Family During Severe Storm

by Josh Lanier
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A California family believes a furry guardian angel saved their lives when a giant redwood tree toppled over and crushed their camper. They were living in the camper while their new house is under construction.

A so-called superstorm passed through Marin County Sunday and dumped several inches of rain in a few hours. That heavy rain softened the ground and allowed the heavy tree to uproot and fall.

Danielle Brajkovich was watching TV when, all of a sudden, the redwood tree crashed through the roof. Glass exploded from the windows and cut the camper in half, she told ABC News 7. She was unhurt. She screamed out for her two daughters. They also escaped unharmed. But then she realized her husband, Matthew Boersma, was on the other side of the camper where the tree had hit. She started screaming for him.

“I woke up, and I heard Danielle screaming for the dogs. And I noticed this tree was right up against my shoulder,” Boersma said. “I saw a little bit of an opening, so I reached out and said, ‘Hey, I’m okay!’

“If I was over another six inches the whole tree would’ve crunched me.”

The redwood tree spared the family’s two dogs also. But they don’t count it up to luck. Sadly, the night before, their third dog, Maui, had died. They believe Maui was still watching over the family from the other side.

“Our dog had just passed the night before, and I think that he was our guardian angel in saving (my husband’s) life,” Danielle Brajkovich said. “Because had the tree not fallen over and not gotten wedged between two other trees, he would have been crushed.”

A family friend started a GoFundMe page to help the family replace some of the things they lost.

Historic Redwoods Narrowly Escape Destruction in Forest Fire

Redwood trees are some of the oldest living structures in the United States. Some date back more than 2,000 years. But this year, several forest fires have threatened to destroy hundreds of them.

In August, a fast-moving forest fire burned through a grove of redwoods that stood taller than 200 feet. That means they are between 1,000 and 1,800 years old. Firefighters pushed beat back the blaze, but arborists feared the worst. Though they were relieved to see the silent sentinels still standing.

“That is such good news, I can’t tell you how much that gives me peace of mind,” said Laura McLendon, director for the environmental group Sempervirens Fund.

“… But the forest is not gone,” McLendon told the Associated Press. “It will regrow. Every old-growth redwood I’ve ever seen, in Big Basin and other parks, has fire scars on them. They’ve been through multiple fires, possibly worse than this.”

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