(CBS4) – A man is hospitalized after a tree fell and impaled him and his 9-year-old daughter during Saturday’s wild weather in Colorado. It happened in southwest Denver on Quitman Street, just south of Yale Avenue, during the storm that met the criteria to be classified as a derecho.
A family member tells CBS4 the man, who was visiting his parents’ home, was in the driveway with his daughter when the tree fell. With nowhere to go, he shielded the young girl and was impaled and pinned underneath the fallen tree.
On Sunday, pallets used by firefighters to shore up the tree and rescue the father and daughter remained pinned under the tree.
“We did see when they rolled him out on the stretcher to the ambulance. Just little glimpses and it was terrifying,” said Jennifer Standard, who lives across the street and called 911.
Family members declined an interview with CBS4, but provided updates on the situation. As of Sunday afternoon, the father had undergone surgery and remained at a Denver hospital. The daughter was at home recovering from her injuries, a family member said.
“It was extremely scary. I’m just so thankful that they’re both alive and OK at this point and hoping for a speedy recovery,” said Standard. “It’s truly amazing. He’s a hero for saving that little girl’s life.”
Neighbors described the storm as quick, but incredibly powerful. Connor Simbeck, who lives around the corner, said it seemed like the severe weather lasted only two minutes.
“Heavy rain for 30 seconds, crazy wind for 30 seconds, and then it was gone,” Simbeck said.
The weather also blew down Simbeck’s neighbor’s tree, which caused damage to his fence and camper. As of Sunday afternoon, the tree was still blocking Linvale Place, which connects with Quitman Street.
“These trees, we’re lucky they didn’t go into the house,” He said. “We’re all very lucky in a lot of ways.”
Jennifer Standard, who has lived in the area for 30 years, also had a tree fall in her yard. On Sunday, she was counting her blessings, since no one in her family was hurt. Her car windshield and gutter were damaged by the falling tree.
“I’ve never lived through anything like this and hope to not have to do it again,” Standard said.