California Tree Trimmer Dies After Falling into Wood Chipper in Freak Accident

A tree trimmer died Tuesday after getting caught in a wood chipper in Menlo Park, a Bay Area suburb, according to officials.

Residents living in the neighborhood told ABC7 News it's typical to see tree trimming activity across the city. Many streets, including along Peggy Lane, are lined with towering trees. However, tragedy struck on Tuesday.

Wood chipper death
The crime scene in Menlo Park on Tuesday. Twitter

OSHA to Conduct Investigation

The Menlo Park Police Department said it responded to a report of the incident in the 900 block of Peggy Lane at 12:53 p.m. and found the man deceased from injuries sustained in that incident.

The state's division of Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) says an employee of FA Bartlett Tree Expert Company died after falling into a wood chipper while trimming trees in the neighborhood. "According to the outside source, the employee was pulled into the chipper during tree trimming operations," the department said.

The company has not yet released a statement. OSHA will be investigating the death and has six months to issue citations if health and safety violations are found. The identity of the worker is not yet known but will be released by the San Mateo County coroner's office in due course.

Residents: 'We Feel Sick and Sad'

"We all feel sick and sad," longtime resident Lisa Mitchell said. "We're really sad. We're trying to imagine what the poor family and their fellow workers are feeling. And it's just, it's a lot. We just feel terrible."

Mitchell added that they are familiar with the company as it carries out tree-trimming operations regularly in the neighborhood. "We see a lot of their trucks," she said. "So, I can only imagine what they're feeling, because I'm sure they treat their employees like family and it's just, it's awful."

Another resident, Thanh Skinner, told the outlet neighbors were previously alerted about tree-trimming operations in the area. However, they never imagined it would lead to a deadly incident.

"It's generally very peaceful, quiet, you don't really see any activity," Skinner described. "So, when I came home around 2:30 p.m., the street was completely blocked off. And so we thought maybe something had happened to one of our neighbors."