Woman killed, man rescued after tree falls on home in Broomall, Delaware County

ByGray Hall via WPVI logo
Sunday, February 7, 2016
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A woman is dead and her husband hospitalized after a tree crashed through the roof of their Broomall, Delaware County home as they slept.

BROOMALL, Pa. (WPVI) -- A woman is dead and her husband hospitalized after a tree crashed through the roof of their Broomall, Delaware County, home as they slept.

The incident happened Friday morning in the 200 block of James Road, after a night of steady rain that eventually turned to snow.

A 90-foot tree fell on the home right above the bedroom of Alan Cooper, 79, and his wife, 77-year-old Marjay Cooper.

Both were in bed at the time, and they were trapped under the tree as it came through the roof.

"The tree was physically on them, because when we picked the tree up with the crane, we heard a sigh of relief from the guy," said Carl Drake of the Broomall Fire Company.

Authorities say the husband and wife may have been trapped for about two hours before the incident was discovered.

Once 911 was called, police and firefighters rushed to the scene and began the rescue effort.

It soon became clear that Marjay Cooper did not survive.

The Broomall Fire Department's incident commander told Action News it took nearly an hour to rescue Alan Cooper.

"It's a freak accident," said Drake. "I'd say most people walking around here today are reminiscent of what's in their back yard, thinking 'Oh my God, I got a tree just like that.' "

Mike Gillan with MG Tree Service says the tree slammed into the home with tremendous force. His crew used a 100-foot crane to lift it, saying it was a slow and delicate process.

"There was one fatality and one was still alive. He was directly under the tree, so we had to be real careful every inch we moved the tree," Gillan said.

The tree workers believe the weight of overnight snow likely caused the tree to collapse.

Once freed, Alan Cooper was taken to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center for treatment. He was released on Saturday.

Those living in the area say they are concerned about all the trees, but never imagined a tragedy like this one.

"I did not expect to hear something happened to the lady. It's a shame," said Andreas Bouikidis.

"I am still in shock, to tell you the truth. It's like, 'wow,' " said Maxine Strxelecki.

Family members arrived and comforted each other outside the home after learning of the tragic accident.