Big Branch Falls, Damages Home In Berkeley Hills

By Richard Brenneman
Tuesday May 08, 2007

A massive branch broke off from a pine tree in the Berkeley Hills late Friday afternoon and smashed into a home at 1570 Hawthorne Terrace, causing considerable damage. 

Deputy Fire Chief David Orth said electricity was shut off to the surrounding neighborhood for about an hour while crews worked to clear the debris. 

“The home was red-tagged by the building inspector as a precaution,” Orth said, forcing occupants to find other accommodations until the extent of the damage could be fully assessed. 

While Hawthorne Terrace’s was the first tree fall reported during the weekend’s heavy winds, it wouldn’t be the last. “We had a lot of trees down,” Orth said, but only one did damage to a structure. 

While high winds and soaring mercury prompted the department to order firefighters to carry their wildland firefighting gear for the duration of the hot spell, fire season hasn’t begun officially, “although we expect it to get off to an early start this year,” Orth said.