Neighbors, crews react to tree crushing home, killing woman in Leavenworth

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. -- A woman is dead in Leavenworth after a massive tree toppled onto her home Tuesday morning.

Firefighters worked to reach the victim's body, and then spent hours trying to remove the tree.

The crew of Wagner Landworks and first responders worked tirelessly to remove the giant oak tree and free the woman people said took care of their neighborhood. It was a loud noise and unbelievable sight for people in the neighborhood of Madison and Spruce.

"I heard the crackling, and I took off outside," neighbor Michael St. Lawrence said. "I was outside about mid-level when the tree was coming over, but it was too late for me to run out there and help them."

Fire officials said the call came in around 8:30 a.m. when the large tree had pulled out of the ground and onto the house.

"We didn't have any storms or wind this morning at all," Leavenworth Fire Chief Gary Birch said. "The ground is totally saturated, and it's a very large tree, and it looks like it just toppled."

Crews worked for around 6 hours to get into the home and recover the woman who lived there.

"Our guys went in and started moving debris, and they did find the lady inside," Birch said. "They called EMS and kind of did an assessment, and because of the conditions and the tree and everything, they backed out."

The Fire Department said the old oak tree gave way while the woman was on her couch. Her neighbors said she was kind.

"She looks out for the safety of everybody," St. Lawrence said.

"I wish I would've gone and said hi to her now because now I'm not going to be able to do that now," Sherry Green said.

With more severe weather on the way for Tuesday night Birch said he's concerned this may not be the last tree to fall.

"We've got more storms severe coming in this evening in the area, and the ground is already saturated. So we think about flash flooding and floods and things of that nature, but you have dangers just like this," Birch said.

Crews were able to get the woman out, but her identity has not been released.

The landscaping company worked for hours after to finish removing the tree so officials can figure out how much damage was done to the house. The tree also caused minor damage to the neighbors next door, but no injuries were reported.

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