Trees downed by wind in Derry and Londonderry create risky situations

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A tree toppled by wind does serious damage to a Derry condo on Franklin Street. Photo/Jeffrey Hastings

LONDONDERRY, NH – High winds toppled a tree Tuesday morning causing live power lines to fall atop a Londonderry school bus, and a tree in Derry crashed into a condominium injuring one resident and briefly trapping three others.

At 9:37 a.m., the Derry Fire Department responded to a call after a roughly 50-foot pine tree fell atop a three-unit condominium building at 107 Franklin Street.

Battalion Chief Scott Haggart said the powerful winds Tuesday morning caused the tree to collapse into the top-floor bedroom of Unit 8, causing a very minor injury to one resident who was in the room at the time.

“The whole building took a pretty good hit,” Haggart said.

The tree itself broke in half at the impact point, and the top half slid down the front of the building, where it obstructed the entrance for Unit 9. Haggart said an adult and two children were assisted out of Unit 9, after crews cut away some of the tree branches blocking the door.

Haggart estimates they were trapped for about 15 minutes. The injured resident was treated and transported by an ambulance crew. She and a second resident of Unit 8 who was not home at the time will be staying with family or friends until the damage is repaired.

The tree has since been removed.

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Students were briefly trapped on a school bus after powerlines were downed by a fallen tree in Londonderry. Photo/Jeffrey Hastings

Earlier that morning, at about 8:20 a.m., a tree came down at King John Drive in Londonderry, pulling down power lines in the process just as a school bus was travelling down the roadway, according to Capt. Patrick Cheetham of the Londonderry Police Department.

After the bus was draped by live power lines the driver stopped the bus and radioed in for assistance. 

Cheetham said police and fire arrived on the scene immediately, and Eversource arrived about 15 minutes later.

There were 12 students riding the bus on their way to Matthew Thornton Elementary School. 

Five minutes after Eversource arrived, the power lines were disabled and the students were transferred to another bus. They were each checked out at the school and everyone appeared unharmed, Cheetham said.

“We praise the driver’s quick thinking and keeping the children calm until the wires could be rendered safe,” Cheetham said.

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Ryan Lessard

Ryan Lessard is a freelance reporter.