Three Ohio State students were transported to the Wexner Medical Center Sunday in stable condition after a tree fell on a West 10th Avenue apartment complex, according to the Fire Department Battalion Chief Rick Artrip.
Just after noon on Sunday, a tree fell on the apartment complex, trapping two students in the complex and injuring a third. The tree also knocked out several power lines and broke a gas pipe.
Artrip said engineers would have to come out to turn off the power to the area before the gas could be shut off.
The students, two males and one female, did not sustain any major injuries, with Artrip describing them as having only a few scratches. Once the Fire Department was able to get into the building, Artrip said the students were able to walk down the ladder on their own. He said the rest of the building’s occupants were taken to the Ohio Union.
Stacey Renker, interim director of risk and emergency management at the Office of Student Life, said the students will be asked if they would like support services and that the Red Cross and Student Advocacy will determine what they can do to assist them. She said between the two groups, students displaced by the incident will be able to have temporary housing.
David Peterson, one of the managers of the realty company Wolf Properties, which leases the complex, said the apartment houses 10 people total, but did not know how many were in the building at the time the tree came down. He said the fire department will determine on Monday if the complex is safe enough for students to return to collect their items.
Wolf Properties does have insurance on the building, and Peterson said that was the first call they made when they heard about the incident after making sure everyone in the building was safe. Though the tree was in the property of the lot adjacent to the complex, a lot not owned by Wolf Properties, Peterson said that police described the incident as “an act of God,” meaning Wolf is responsible for its own property.
Strong winds have been tracked by the National Weather Service in central Ohio as having topped out at 58 mph, meteorologist Kristen Cassady said. Around 10:09 a.m., the Ohio State area was said to have receiveds 54 mph winds that have continued throughout the afternoon, Cassady said.
Fire department officials said it was “a safe assumption” the winded knocked the tree down, and Cassady noted that given the saturation outside, the roots were likely weakened and that the wind would be strong enough to knock the tree over.