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Woman Killed By Falling Tree in Garfield Park

A woman was tragically and suddenly killed after a tree fell on her early Wednesday morning in Garfield Park.

DC Fire Emergency Medical Services (DC FEMS) was called to Garfield Park at the corner of Third and G Streets SE around 7:25 in the morning July 10 for reports of a woman trapped under a tree.

The tree fell across the pathway north of the tennis courts in Garfield Park, near to 3rd St., SE.

The tree fell just north of the tennis courts in Garfield Park. Vito Maggiolo, DC FEMS public information officer, said that firefighters had to cut branches to get to the woman, which took only minutes.

However, she was pronounced dead as soon as she was reached.

The woman has not yet been identified. DC FEMS estimated her age as about 35.

It appears the tree split at the root and fell towards the tennis courts.

The woman was located somewhere between the tree and the tennis courts, potentially on the pathway. Bystanders say she was walking her dog at the time, accompanied by her spouse. Both heard the crack and attempted to get out of the way.

“It’s such a a deep, horrific tragedy to have this happen,” Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen (D) said, saying that neighbors have reached out to share their feelings of shock and loss. “It’s just devestating to see a neighbor lose their life in such a shocking manner. Everyone’s thoughts are with her family and friends as they experience this devestating loss.”

Garfield Park is under the control of the DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) and is slated for renovations this summer. Some improvements were to include landscaping. It is not clear if the specific tree that fell and killed the woman today was included in plans.

By 10:30 a.m. a chipper was stationed on Third Street SE near the site. Allen said that his understanding was that the entire tree would be taken down. At a press conference on scene, DDOT’s Urban Forestry Director said the tree was now imbalanced. It was a swamp White Oak that had otherwise stood for about 100 years, he said.

Allen said he spoke to the DDOT Director who has agreed to do an assessment of every large tree in Garfield Park. Trees are assessed every three years.

DDOT told reporters that it is not yet clear why the tree limb fell, as both the limb and tree appeared to be healthy.

In a statement, Acting DDOT Director Sharon Kershbaum said that through the DDOT Urban Forestry Division, the District maintains a comprehensive process for the routine inspection and maintenance of all public space trees. “This tree was inspected in May 2022 and determined to be in good condition,” Kershbaum said. “Following today’s accident, the tree will be immediately removed from Garfield Park, and we will reinspect all mature trees in the park by the end of the week.”

Kershbaum said DDOT encourages the public to report any tree concerns to 311. “We extend our deepest condolences to the family, friends, and loved ones impacted by this tragic loss,” she concluded.

Arborists were on site by 10:30a.m. The tree is expected to be completely removed from the park.

We have reached out to DC DPR for further information.

The story is updating.

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