Woman, 84, gets home just after tree falls on condo unit
Rain tree was at least 50 years old and taller than the four-storey condo blocks. No one injured
An elderly woman arrived home on Monday night to see her neighbours scrambling down the stairs of their condominium block in their pyjamas.
Then she realised a large rain tree in the compound had fallen and crashed into her first-storey apartment.
The incident, which happened at around 10pm, shocked the residents of Kismis Court, a condominium in Toh Yi Road in Upper Bukit Timah.
Some of them said there was neither rain nor a strong wind when the tree, which was at least 50 years old and taller than the four-storey blocks, fell.
No one was injured, but at least three units were damaged.
When The New Paper arrived at the scene yesterday afternoon, workers were seen cutting up the tree trunk and clearing the branches.
The first-storey resident, who wanted to be known only as Madam Woo, 84, said her veranda was completely smashed by the tree, along with all her beloved plants.
The retired businesswoman, who has lived alone since her husband died five years ago, said gardening is her favourite hobby.
She was driving into the carpark just after 10pm when she saw the commotion.
"The impact was so terrible that it felt as if the whole building was sinking," Madam Woo told The New Paper.
"I am glad I was out and not in my veranda when the tree fell. Even if I was in the living room, seeing the tree (crash) would have been too much of a shock for me."
She said she will be contacting her insurance company to discuss the damage. She estimated the repairs to cost about $10,000.
Her sister-in-law, Mrs Ellen Woo, 76, who lives in the unit above hers, said that she and her husband, Mr Alan Woo, 78, were dozing off when they heard a loud sound akin to "hundreds of bricks landing on the ground".
Mrs Woo, a retired teacher, hurried out of her unit to assess the damage and saw that a large branch had fallen on her car in the carpark.
The branch was still on the car when TNP was there. Scratches could be seen on the bumper and windscreen.
It is understood that two other cars belonging to visitors were also damaged.
When Mrs Woo returned to her unit, she realised the branches had crushed all her plants on the balcony. She had not noticed it earlier as the windows and curtains were closed.
"I am in my balcony gardening all the time, so I was sad to see all my plants destroyed. You see these things happen to others but never expect it to happen to you," she added.
Asked whether she was relieved that she was not in the balcony when the tree fell, she said: "Thankfully, I was not there, but even if I were, I think I would have heard the tree crack."
Ms Ma Lu Xiang, 78, who lives with her daughter in a first-storey unit in another block, said she was woken up by a crashing sound.
She jumped out of bed and was relieved to see the tree had missed her home narrowly. But her awning had "a huge hole" after being hit by a branch.
Dr Geoffrey Benjamin, 81, the chairman of the residents' council, said the trees are inspected and pruned every two years, most recently in 2019.
The anthropologist, who has been living in the 26-unit condo for almost 25 years, has been in touch with the condo's managing agent, who will be assessing the property damage for insurance claims.
Dr Benjamin said a smaller tree had fallen in the condo premises four years ago. No one was hurt, but it blocked the entrance to the carpark.
"There is another tree in the condo that is equally as big as the one that fell.
"We may have to cut that tree down to prevent something like this from happening again. I am just relieved no one got injured," he added.