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Man Killed While Trimming Palm Tree In Hollywood

palmtree.jpg
Photo by queequegMB via the LAist Featured Photos pool
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Trimming palm trees is very dangerous business, and today the tree-trimming industry claimed another victim in Hollywood.

An unidentified 27-year-old man was fatally trapped under a mass of palm fronds while he was trimming a tree on Martel Street in Hollywood today, according to City News Service. Firefighters and paramedics were dispatched to the scene at 1412 N. Martel Ave. just after noon today, but it was too late for the tree trimmer. The street was shut down between Fountain and Sunset while an investigation was conducted by the coroner's office and OSHA.

Battalion Chief Jeff Elder told Hollywood Patch that it appears the fronds broke his neck: "It appears that the belly of the palm collapsed around him, breaking his neck. It appears to have killed him instantly."

The man was working for a private contractor and he was working with a partner when his death occurred, according to Hollywood Patch.

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A Los Angeles Times story from 2006 explains why tree-trimming is such a dangerous job. It's much more dangerous than firefighting or policing, experts say. The odds of being killed in the industry are 1 in 3,000.

Trimming palm fronds can bring in more money for workers but it is especially dangerous: "Palm trees are particularly tricky. Dead fronds often appear to be attached to the tree. In reality they are attached only to other fronds in a deceptive weave. When the dead fronds are pulled loose, the whole weave collapses..."

The palm fronds above are from our Flickr photo pool, but Hollywood Patch has photos from the scene (the man's body is not visible).

UPDATE 9/23: The victim was identified as Gerson Hernandez, 27, of Van Nuys, according to City News Service. An autopsy is pending.