A Tustin woman has died after becoming trapped in a vehicle that was hit by a large tree on Monday morning, authorities said.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department identified the victim as 34-year-old Dennet Bermas. The official cause of death was still pending autopsy, the agency said.
Crews responded after receiving a report of a person inside a vehicle beneath a tree in the 14400 block of Red Hill Avenue, Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Tony Bommarito told KTLA just before 9:30 a.m.
A short time later, authorities confirmed in a tweet that the woman had died.
“This was just a seconds away from living or dying [scenario], and sadly she ended up passing,” Bommarito said.
A neighbor who had been walking his dog witnessed the fatal incident.
” I saw the lady close her door and lock it. I said, ‘Good morning, have a good day.’ And before I got to my house, I heard the tree snap and I turned around and watched it fall,” said Danny McCabe.
McCabe rushed in to help the woman, whom he described as being completely pinned inside the car.
“I started ripping tree branches up, trying to get to her. And then I was like, ‘Ma’am? Can you hear me?’ And I shook her arm, there was no movement. I checked her pulse in her wrist, there was nothing. I check her pulse in her throat, and there was nothing,” he recalled.
The woman was pronounced dead at the scene.
“I don’t know what to say… She’s a very nice person,” said Norma Milo, who identified the victim as her nephew’s wife.
Sky5 aerial video over the scene showed the toppled tree on top of the car and a nearby structure, possibly a carport.
“It’s a eucalyptus tree,” Bommarito said. “Those trees are very heavy, very solid and very big.”
The massive tree fell as powerful Santa Ana winds swept through Southern California on Monday, prompting Red Flag warnings and also causing numerous power outages throughout the region.
Parts of Tustin experienced gusts of between 42 and 58 mph, according to the National Weather Service,
Elsewhere in Orange County, the weather service reported winds with gusts of up 75 mph at Fremont Canyon, 60 mph near Mission Viejo and 55 mph near San Clemente.
Fire crews have been dealing with other downed trees in the Tustin area, but no other injuries have been reported.
KTLA’s Jennifer Thang contributed to this story.
Tustin Technical Rescue: 9:15 am Crews are onscene of a large tree that fell on a vehicle 14000 block of Red Hill. One female fatality in the vehicle, unknown age. pic.twitter.com/R2EeHQmGw8
— OCFA PIO (@OCFA_PIO) October 15, 2018