High Winds Cause Tree to Snap, Fall onto Placerville Home

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Pete Franchi of Placerville is pushing 70. He's lived in the same house on Prescott Avenue for more than half his life.

But after powerful wind storms last night, he's not living there now.

"That thing ... I was surprised at how it broke off. Because, as you can see by the look, it's only about a third of the way up. That thing was better than 150 feet tall," said Stan Anderson, gesturing to a massive pine tree that crashed through Franchi's roof Wednesday night about 8 p.m.

"It went through the garage, pushed out the dining room wall and the living room wall where Pete was sitting," Anderson said.

Pete Franchi was in his living room on the phone with his son Mike. At that moment, he had just said the wind gusts were the strongest he'd ever heard at their home.

Through the receiver, Mike Franchi could hear the tree snap.

"Like an explosion. That's all I can really say it sounded like," Mike Franchi said.

All three Franchi brothers were at the house within minutes and were back Thursday to oversee the tree removal.

So who's taking Pete Franchi now?

"We're taking turns," they all said at once.

The fire department has warned that significant structural was done last night, amid winds that came roaring uphill.

How fast? Around here they're guess 60 mph-plus -- strong enough not to simply uproot the towering pine, but to snap it and topple it right on to Pete's house.

"He was very, very lucky. I'm glad he's OK," Anderson said.

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