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03/21/09 07:05 AM

Tree with trimmer in it collapses, killing him

- A Ransomville tree trimmer died Friday morning when the tree he was working on at a Grand Island property collapsed on him, Grand Island Fire Company officials reported.

John West, 28, was working at about 9:45 a. m. near the top of a large tree in a yard at 122 Amberwood Drive when the tree’s trunk unexpectedly broke off at ground level and fell to the ground. Firefighters estimated the tree was about 40 feet tall.

West reportedly was attached to the top of the tree, and as co-workers pulled down on the part being cut, the tree gave way, Erie County sheriff’s officials said.

“The gentleman doing the cutting fell to the ground, while still attached to the tree,” Erie County Sheriff’s Lt. Thomas Daugherty said.

Ray Pauley, public information officer for the Grand Island Fire Company, said a next-door neighbor, who is a nurse at Kenmore Mercy Hospital, saw or heard the incident, called 911 and ran to West’s aid to perform CPR.

“When our medics arrived on the scene, they immediately started advanced life support and worked on him all the way into Kenmore Mercy Hospital,” Pauley said.

He later was pronounced dead at the hospital.