Witness Recalls Chainsaw Accident That Killed Tree Trimmer

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FAIR OAKS -- In the quiet Fair Oaks neighborhood, the tree canopy often provides a respite from the harsh outdoors. But instead of finding peaceful shade on his morning walk Friday, one neighbor found unimaginable horror.

Mike Karelius says it was a sight he won’t soon forget. A man who had been trimming his neighbor’s tree was hanging lifeless in that same tree after cutting himself with a chainsaw.

“I made the mistake of looking up, but there he was suspended in the tree,” Karelius told FOX40.

According to Metro Fire, crews used a ladder truck to reach the man who was 40 to 50 feet up in a tree. His harness and chainsaw were still attached to the tree. When they reached him, he had no pulse and wasn’t breathing.

Karelius says the heartbreaking scene became even more so when he noticed two to three other members of the tree trimming crew watching helplessly.

“They said that they had just been talking and laughing that morning, and then to see this happen it was really tough for these guys,” recalled Karelius.

Their coworker was Fernando Hernandez, he would have turned 37 Monday.

California’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration tells FOX40 they were told a branch fell causing Hernandez’ chainsaw to come towards him. A witness says it appeared the man cut himself on the arm and bled out.

CalOSHA identifies the company Hernandez worked for as Bell’s Tree Service. All attempts to contact the company went unreturned.

CalOSHA is investigating the circumstances of what appears to be an accident.