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News

Eight Kids Hurt After Tree Falls Outside Pasadena Children's Museum

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A 70-foot tree fell and injured 8 children who were waiting for their parents to pick them up after summer day camp in Pasadena on Tuesday.

A large group of children were waiting for their parents to pick them up from Brookside Park around 4:45 p.m. when a pine tree uprooted and came crashing down. "All of the sudden I hear this cracking noise and then I turn around and I saw this big tree just all of the sudden fall down," witness Greg Prodigalidad told KTLA. "And I saw all the little kids just run."

Eight children were injured in the tree fall, with two of them critically injured. Firefighters and police tore the tree apart in the aftermath, but thankfully found no more children underneath. "That was the fear, that once they started cutting the tree up that there would be somebody under it," parent Klee Scott told the Pasadena Star-News. A spokesperson with the Pasadena Fire Department told CBS Los Angeles that all of the injured children suffered blunt force trauma.

The kids were mainly a group of day campers who had just ended their day at the day camp at the Kidspace Children's Museum, right next to the park. "Our hearts go out to the families of those injured as well as all those who witnessed this frightening incident," said the museum's CEO Michael Shanklin, in a statement (.pdf). "We wish everyone a speedy and complete recovery."

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According to the statement, the children were all between the ages of 5- and 9-years old, though the ages of the children injured were not specified.

Prodigalidad told the L.A. Times that the situation could have been much worse had it been another type of tree: "It gave warning. You hear it crack before it falls."

Pasadena city officials arranged for an independent arborist to examine the tree on Wednesday to determine the cause of the fall. Although too early to determine a cause, arborist Sylvia Blackstone told the L.A. Times that any number of factors could have contributed, including root disease, fungus, wind, and even the drought. However, city manager Michael Beck said Brookside Park was not subject to drought restrictions. "Because it is used as a city park and is near to Kidspace, it is watered regularly," he said.

Kidspace Children's Museum said they would open to the public on Wednesday, as usual.