EAST LA (CBSLA.com) — People poured into an East LA neighborhood Saturday to pay respects to a man, a beloved neighbor and father, killed Saturday morning in a freak accident.
Tony Calderon, 49, was killed when the top of a palm tree fell on top of him, crushing him.
Officials on the scene estimated the top of the tree weighed about a ton.
Brittney Hopper, reporting for KCAL9, said work crews were still on the scene hours later trying to make sense of what happened and to clean up the gruesome scene.
The neighborhood was filled this evening with people — friends and some strangers — bringing flowers and candles. People wanting to pay their respects.
“It just took me back to 1999,” said Tony Scott, “My heart started beating. [When I heard about today] Literally my heart started beating through my chest.”
Fifteen years ago, Scott almost died from a similar fate — a palm tree almost killed him. falling on him. The accident left him paralyzed from the waist down.
He told Hopper he wanted to come out to pay his respects for a man he never met, but felt he could relate to.
Family and friends were too emotional trying to make sense of it all.
Many told Hopper they are upset with the county saying the tree should have been cut down. But county officials say since the tree is on private property it’s the owners responsibility.
Rose Cordova’s son owns the home.
“I’ve always worried about those trees but I don’t have the money to cut them down,” Cordova sais. “This is the last thing I thought would happen.”
Calderon was talking to Cordova’s son this morning when the tree came down killing him. It took almost two hours before crews could reach his body.
The weight of the tree and downed power lines prevented anyone to get too close.
Tony Scott brought 15 candles for the tribute this evening — one for each of the 15 years that has gone by since his own accident. He says he’s praying for the Calderon family.
“I know that this gentleman didn’t survive. But I’m here as a testament to the fact that you can survive, the family as a whole, with the love and support of family you can get through anything.”