Man killed when massive tree crashes through Encino home in middle of night

Local news

A man was killed when a large tree came crashing down on a home in Encino Sunday.

A caller reported the downed tree in the 5000 block of North Odessa Avenue just after 11 p.m., Los Angeles Fire Department Capt. Cody Weireter said.

Video showed a large portion of the two-story home had been crushed under the weight of the massive tree.

Responding firefighters helped two women out of the home shortly after the tree fell.

The two women had been on the first floor of the home and were uninjured by the tree, Weireter said. A dog was also rescued from the home.

When crews searched upstairs they found a man, identified by his son as Dennis Franks, deceased from injuries suffered in the incident.

Franks was in his home office when the massive tree came crashing down on him. He leaves behind his wife and three children.

“Anyone who knows him knows he would do anything for you at the drop of the hat,” Kevin Franks told KTLA about his father. “He cared more for my mom and my sisters more than anything. He was always there for us always.”

The family had just been together having dinner at the home a few hours before the tree toppled. Kevin’s mother, sister and dog escaped the home uninjured.

Investigators are trying to determine what caused the tree to fall.

“I’ve never experienced anything like this … You’re looking at well over 100,000 pounds of a tree falling onto a home in the middle of the night,” Weireter said.

“No wind or rain … obviously unexpected, absolutely tragic tonight,” Weireter said.

Although winds were calm Sunday night, strong gusts did blow through the region just last week.

Neighbor Tony Montero said he often expressed concerns to his wife that the tree looked dangerous.

“It was leaning directly over the house … it was probably 30 degrees,” Montero said.

Kevin Franks said the family has followed the rules set forth by the city to maintaining the tree, including working with an arborist and using chains to “keep stuff from falling.”

Dennis Franks was a longtime attorney and adjunct college professor who taught at local universities.

The home has been red-tagged due to the amount of damage it sustained in the incident.

It was unclear if any of the neighboring homes suffered structural damage from the incident.

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