PASADENA, Md. (AP) — A large tree toppled onto a detached garage in a Maryland neighborhood where people attending a child’s birthday party sought shelter from a storm, sending 19 people to hospitals Sunday afternoon, authorities said.
Anne Arundel County Fire Department spokesman Russ Davies said one person was critically injured and five others were in serious condition but none of their conditions was life-threatening. Among the 17 adults and two children in the garage at the time, the rest had minor injuries, he added.
“They were gathered for a child’s birthday party. When the storm came through the area they went into the garage to seek shelter and that’s when the tree fell on the garage,” Davies told local media outlets. “This was a detached garage between two homes.”
Photos from the scene showed a large tree laying across what remained of the splintered garage.
Davies said first responders rushed to the area after the first 911 calls Sunday afternoon and found six people still trapped in the garage amid the debris. He said three of those people were quickly freed and the last three were extricated soon after. All were taken out within 45 minutes.
“It was a very brief storm. It came through very quickly,” Davies said. He added that the neighborhood is in a wooded area and rescuers had to work around broken bits of the fallen tree and the remains of the garage.
Authorities did not immediately identify the victims or elaborate on their conditions, including those of the two children.
Other trees were down in the area after the storm, along with electric lines, authorities said, causing power outages.
As a precaution, Davies said, firefighters and others searched the shattered garage after everyone was out and determined no one else was left in the debris. None of the first responders was hurt.
Pasadena is a community about 20 miles (32 kilometers) southeast of Baltimore in the Midatlantic corridor stretching between Baltimore and the nation’s capital.