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Tree that crushed woman showed no signs of disease, official says

A eucalyptus tree fell on a car in Newport Beach, fatally crushing the woman inside
The city-maintained tree that fell and crushed a motorist in September showed no signs of disease, Newport Beach City Manager Dave Kiff said.

Kiff made the statement amid newly released records that show that many of the other blue-gum eucalyptus trees are infected by sulfur fungus, which causes root rot and the eventual collapse of trees.

"On the tree that fell, there were no external signs of disease — no fungus, no conks, no fruiting bodies, no lifting of the roots, no visible signs of trouble in the leaves, roots or on the trunk," Kiff wrote in an email to the Daily Pilot.

Newport's trees are regularly inspected by city-employed arborists and the city's tree-maintenance contractor, West Coast Arborists.

Last week, the city released records indicating that West Coast Arborists knew some eucalyptus trees on Irvine Avenue were infested by bugs and showed signs of decay, although the notes did not specifically flag the doomed tree.

After that tree fell and killed Tustin resident Haeyoon Miller on Sept. 15, the city has directed the emergency removal of about 140 trees.

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Photo: A tree fell on a car, fatally crushing the woman inside, in Costa Mesa on Sept. 15. Credit: Don Barletti / Los Angeles Times

 
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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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