SOUTH SACRAMENTO -- It was the stuff of nightmares for a South Sacramento neighborhood, suspended 20 feet above the ground.
The tree trimmer, his chainsaw hanging next to him, was pinned to a branch that snapped and fouled his safety lines, killing him.
"I saw the tree snap. I actually saw him there struggling, you know?" said Kou Vang.
For firefighters, it was a difficult balancing act. They had already climbed up once to see if the man could be saved. Working on a tree that's already proven fatally unpredictable, they then had to balance being safe, being fast and being respectful.
"We're going to attempt to get the aerial ladder from the truck at this point so we can get up to him without having to climb through the tree," said Chris Harvey, spokesperson for the Sacramento Fire Department.
The sound of chainsaws has become a familiar one in so many area neighborhoods as powerful storms have barged through the region one after the other early in 2017. Those storms have left many downed trees in their wake, and many more weakened and ready to fall.
"Tree trimming is a dangerous job, especially on a day like today in these types of weather conditions -- rain and wind," Harvey said.
But it's exactly the onset of those stormy conditions, and the backlog of cleanup from the series of storms that have passed through here already, that have so many people out doing this kind of work.
"I actually saw him come cut the tree for a few days now. It's just tragic that today it happened like this," Vang said.
It took more than an hour to get the body safely on the ground, delivered to the coroner, and ultimately to man's grieving family, who gathered in shock, in the rain.
Firefighters report the man was 39 years old and was part of a private, two-man tree trimming team when the accident happened.