The Cambrian

Cambria tree topples, taking out two cars and a power pole

A car damaged by a falling tree in Cambria on Saturday,
A car damaged by a falling tree in Cambria on Saturday,

Trees fall often in Cambria, which is built around and within a rare native Monterey pine forest.

But when a large, aging pine went down in Cambria a little after 10 a.m. Saturday, it wasn't the usual topple. The tree swan dived from a wooded hillside into a busy part of downtown, resulting in two damaged cars and a broken power pole.

The tree fell from the hillside above the busy Old Cambria Marketplace and Car Wash on Main Street at Kent Street.

The tree hit and broke the power pole first, then hit a car. The falling pole hit another car and took out power to seven PG&E accounts, four of which were still without power at 8:30 p.m. Saturday. Power was expected to be restored to the three commercial accounts and one residents by 1:30 a.m. Sunday, PG&E spokesman said.

When the tree fell, Chuck Dowdle of Cambria was waiting in line to run his vehicle through the car wash.

"We heard loud noises" as leaves and branches rained down on the area, he said. "A couple of guys from the car wash yelled, 'Watch out!'"

Apparently, nobody was injured.

Ryan Maloney, engineer with the Cambria Fire Department, estimated the tree was 120 feet tall and 50 inches in diameter. He said the wood was quite light for its mass, so the tree probably was nearly dead, perhaps from age and the drought.

The two damaged vehicles belonged to employees of the service station.