Large tree branch falls during picnic in Menlo Park

- A mother and her two-year-old child were injured when a large tree branch fell onto a company picnic held at Menlo College Saturday afternoon.

A family member said the mother, Jasmine Garcia, suffered a broken toe and her daughter Zealyn has a fractured skull and is undergoing surgery on her eyelid at Stanford Children’s Hospital Sunday evening.

The branch was fifty feet long and three feet in diameter. It smashed tables and chairs when it fell.

Hundreds of people were attending a company picnic with Riverbed Technologies.

"20 minutes before a whole group of people were sitting under the tree. They moved for whatever reason,” said Menlo Firefighter Sean Cole.

Captain Jane Hunt with Menlo Fire Department says that the oak tree branch "separated from the main trunk". Witnesses heard a snap and then the branch fell just two seconds later, said Cole.

Menlo College senior Marissa Deorona was moving back into her dorm Sunday morning when she learned about the tree accident on the quad.

"I can say when the wind is really strong, you can hear the trees and it does make me kind of nervous sometimes, but I don't think it's too big of a deal because I have faith in the trees,” said Deorona.

Despite her faith in the trees, Deorona said last winter another large tree fell in front of a building on the quad.

Fire Chief Schapelhouman says the college and fire department will have tree safety inspections next week.

Schapelhouman added, "I know the fire crews that responded to this incident were extremely relieved it wasn't much worse than it could have been given the size of the group and proximity of the seating area under the tree".

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