Saratoga neighbors fearful more massive trees could topple, cause power outages

As another storm takes aim at the South Bay, some Saratoga residents are still recovering from last week’s intense wind and rain that caused trees to topple and knock out power for days.

A massive eucalyptus tree crashed across Allendale Avenue and Harleigh Drive, bringing down a utility pole and lines last Tuesday. The tree blocked access to some homes, closing the roads for several days.

"It’s like we’re living in the Santa Cruz Mountains out here," neighbor Wayne Innamorato said. "Five days without power and we’re now still waiting for cable TV."

The fix was a slow-go considering the number of trees down and calls for service. But neighbors say no one initially took responsibility for the giant eucalyptus, delaying the clearing and cutting of the tree.

It was day four of sawing and chipping Monday as tree crews worked to clear brush and remove large logs. But even with the roads reopen and the power back on, the buzz among neighbors is surrounding what’s still standing.

"It’s going to happen again," neighbor Rich Perilli said. "These are the ones right across the street – those eucalyptus trees."

Several of the trees along Allendale Avenue and nearby streets are either dead or leaning severely.

Saratoga Mayor Kookie Fitzsimmons said in a statement the city’s public works team has been working to keep roadways clear and accessible as possible during storms.

"I know how frustrating and disruptive it can be to navigate the consequences of storms, such as losing power and internet access," she said. Unfortunately, the Bay Area has been hit hard this winter, and Saratoga is no exception."

Pacific Gas & Electric tells KTVU that it had more than 400 outage incidents in Santa Clara County caused by the most recent storm and has been working hard to keep up.

With another storm forecast for Tuesday, PG&E said extra power poles, line and transformers are ready to go. And so is additional staff and crews.

"We want our customers to know we’re out in full force," spokesperson Tamar Sarkissian said. "We are going to be working around the clock once the storm starts. And we’re really focusing in on those hardest hit areas. Here in the Bay Area that’s the peninsula and the South Bay that we’re anticipating."

Neighbors in Saratoga said they’re keeping watch since right now there’s no long-term strategy to prevent more trees from falling.

"It’s could be really dangerous," Innamorato said. "My wife and I walk down there all the time. Now, we have second thoughts about walking down that way."

Brooks Jarosz is a reporter for KTVU. Email him at and follow him on Facebook and Twitter @BrooksKTVU