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Posted at 10:39 PM ET, 08/ 7/2010

Big tree topples in Montgomery

By Eric Athas

By Martin Weil

A large tree toppled Saturday morning with little or no warning onto a house in Montgomery County in what might have been one of the last effects of Thursday's thunderstorms.

It was not clear Saturday night why the tree fell about 7 a.m. on the Colesville area house.

But it heavily damaged the two-story, single-family house, in the 13500 block of Collingwood Terrace, and trapped a couple inside for a time, said Capt. Oscar Garcia of the county Fire and Rescue Service.

The tree fell less than 48 hours after a punishing storm that felled trees like flower stalks, but whether it came down as a delayed consequence of the storm was "hard to tell," Garcia said.

Garcia said the tree's trunk was as much as eight feet in diameter. At least two residents of the street said they had heard that the tree might have been rotten inside.

A woman who lives on Collingwood Terrace said she had "no idea" why the huge tree came down. The storm, she said, "may have loosened" its root structure. The tree was "very, very old," said the woman, Judy Siebenberg.

The tree came down with "a big thump," she said, and the sight of it lying across the neighboring house "was horrific."

Garcia said that firefighters extricated the two occupants of the house and that they were uninjured.

Meanwhile, in Northern Virginia, where scores of trees went down before the fury of Thursday's storm, about 1800 homes and businesses remained without electricity Saturday night despite steady progress in restoring power, according to figures from Dominion Virginia Power.

By Eric Athas  | August 7, 2010; 10:39 PM ET
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