By Logan Hall
A large live oak tree fell onto a house on the corner of Encinal Avenue and Mesa Drive in Meiners Oaks at about 2 p.m. Thursday, bringing down live power lines with it. A large part of the tree, which was situated on the property line of Scott and Cathy Titus, had landed directly on the house next door owned by Kevin Doss and Jodi Graff. According to officials, no injuries were reported, but six nearby homes were evacuated until the tree was stabilized by Mark Crane’s Tree and Arborist Service. The tree, which is shared by a neighboring property, split and a large section landed on the roof of the home.
Titus’ niece, Nicki Diaz, was in the house next door which is owned by Scott and Kathy Titus. “I heard a loud bang and everything was shaking,” said Diaz. “We normally have a lot of shade in our yard. All of a sudden, it got really light out.”
Crane’s Tree Service was called in to begin the tree’s removal process and with a crew of six, had much of the debris cleared by nightfall. “The tree had gone through a heavy transpiration process,” said Mark Crane, who owns the business. According to Crane, transpiration involves the tree taking in large amounts of water from the ground. As the water is brought up to the tree’s canopy, the weight becomes to much for the roots to handle, and the tree falls. Ojai Valley’s oak trees are more susceptible to transpiration when the temperatures rise when the tree needs to bring up more water.
Fire crews from Meiners Oaks Fire Station 22 arrived on scene and provided assistance for the neighborhood. “We had to evacuate people from the homes that were near the tree,” said Captain Bob Myers. “Everyone is back now though. Crane’s Tree Service and T&T Crane did a great job out here cleaning this up.”
The Titus family has had to pick up the cost of the Crane as well as the lighting system that illuminated the work area. According to Cathy Titus, the County of Ventura is making the family foot the bill. “It cost us $10,000 to get the crane here,” she said. “The County said we had to pay for the lights as well. We are really mad about it.”
Crews workedf well into the night to remove remaining pieces of the oak.