NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Severe weather slammed the area overnight, causing widespread power outages.
In New Rochelle, a tree came crashing down on a 9-year-old girl out trick-or-treating with her mother. She was hopitalized with serious injuries to her lower body.
“I realized there was a girl pinned under a big branch. I lifted the branch up, threw it off her and stabilized her neck,” said Raad Abdalla.
Abdalla was among the adults who came to the aid of 9-year-old Alessia O’Kane. He visited her in the hospital Friday afternoon.
As for when he came to her aid Halloween night?
“She could feel her legs. Her body was in shock. She could go from crying to not crying to crying to just being OK,” Abdalla said.
“She was frightened. She was scared and in pain,” Kathleen Gardner said.
Gardner rents a home on Maywood Road, and had major concerns about the tree. It didn’t sprout leaves this year, and neighbors feared it was a danger. That fear was justified Thursday night.
Halloween candy remained scattered on the ground in the panic after Alessia was struck.
“She was conscious but she was clearly in pain. It was a terribly disturbing sight,” witness Joe Lanni said.
“They were asking her to wiggle her toes and wiggle her legs. So she seemed like she was responsive and doing OK, but her mom was next to her very distressed,” David Bethea said.
“The father had pulled the larger of the branches off of her, and she was clearly badly injured,” said Lanni. “He was doing quite well to keep her calm and tell her not to move.”
“It’s horrifying. Everybody’s worst nightmare,” Gardner said.
The tree towered over a school bus stop and threatened adjacent power lines. It had been marked for removal weeks ago.
The City of New Rochelle says it was pushing Con Ed to remove the top of the tree near the wires, so it could come take down the rest.
City Manager Chuck Strome released the following statement:
First and most importantly, we send our heartfelt concern to the injured child and her family, and to all the families in the area who were impacted by last night’s tragic incident. When a tree is in close proximity to electrical wires, the City cannot take any action until Con Edison first removes the top of the tree. Since September, the City has been in regular contact with Con Edison to repeatedly urge the utility to address the tree at 4 Maywood, and this work received all requisite City permits months ago. New Rochelle’s Department of Public Works reiterated this request as recently as yesterday. Con Edison’s catastrophic failure to address these conditions in a timely fashion should lead to a fundamental re-evaluation of the utility’s entire process for ensuring safety around trees in urgent need of maintenance.
Con Edison responded with a statement of its own, saying, “Our hearts go out to the young girl and her family. We are in contact with officials of the City of New Rochelle to review the matter.”