A CAR was smashed and two others damaged when a massive tree toppled over on to a Sheffield street.
The huge poplar tree crashed down on to Broomhall Road, opposite Sheffield Hallam University’s Robert Winston Building, completely crushing the back end of a black Vauxhall Astra coupe.
Crowds of onlookers gathered to survey the aftermath and council tree surgeons were called out to cut the ‘very mature’ tree into pieces, ready for removal.
The motorist who owned the Vauxhall told The Star she thought the situation was ‘ridiculous’ and that she was ‘feeling a bit shaken’.
“One of my colleagues came into the office and said a tree had fallen over outside and some cars were underneath it. Then I came out to have a look to see,” said the woman, who didn’t want to named.
“It’s ridiculous, but these things happen. It’s an act of God.
“I’m feeling a bit shaken, but these things happen, you have insurance for these things.”
The woman, who worked for Sheffield Hallam’s technical support team, said she’d already contacted her insurers to cover the extensive damage, but didn’t know how much repairs would cost until the claim was assessed.
Ian O’Keefe, aged 54, from Parson Cross, said he was driving along Broomhall Road along with his wife Dawn, 47, to visit her mother when the incident happened.
“We’d just come down Park Lane and it had already fallen down. One of the policemen said if we’d been just a few feet forward it would have got us,” he said.
“The tree’s all rotten at the bottom so obviously no-one’s been maintaining it. It’s just lucky that no-one was under the tree or in any of the cars.”
A student, who also wished to remain anonymous, said she heard a ‘big cracking noise’ before leaving the university building to find the tree had collapsed.
Nikki Burgess, 34, from Dinnington, was the owner of a pink Smart car which was also in the path of the tree, and was hit by falling branches.
“I didn’t know it had fallen down until I got a phone call from my friend to say my car was underneath,” said Nikki, a student paramedic.
“I was shocked, the car’s up for sale as well!”
The road was closed while the debris was cleared and police officers controlled traffic at the scene.
One of the tree surgeons who was busy cutting up the tree said the poplar looked as if it had died before toppling over.
“It’s a very mature poplar tree,” he said.
“It’s been cut back in the past, it looks to me as though the root system has packed in. It’s lucky nobody got killed.”
South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service confirmed they received a call at midday yesterday requesting advice on the fallen tree. The brigade advised the caller to contact Sheffield Council.
There was no answer at the property where the tree was sited on nearby Park Lane.