HOLLISTON (CBS) – A 79-year-old Holliston woman was rushed to the hospital after a tree fell on her in her backyard. Beatrice Wardford was actually cutting down the tree herself, using an axe, when the accident happened.
Her sixteen-year-old neighbor, Katelyn Springsteen, was walking home from the school bus when she heard the cries. “It sounded like a cat meowing. As I got closer I heard the cries for help,” she tells WBZ-TV.
The tree weighed a few hundred pounds, was thirty to forty feet tall, and ten inches in diameter. Springsteen, who immediately called 911, said the tree was on her left hip, with her right hip to the ground, and was crushing her.
Holliston firefighter James McGowan, who lives nearby and heard the emergency call, was the first one on the scene. “She was having a hard time breathing, speaking one to two word sentences,” he said. McGowan got the weighty trunk up a few inches and his adrenalin wouldn’t let him stop. “I couldn’t set it back down on her and be able to sleep at night. “I tried to give it everything I got and got it up about a foot.”
Katelyn’s father Hank Springsteen was also on scene and quickly moved the victim out of the way. “I was there to assist, he did most of the lifting. It was a grunt, tree’s up, and she’s out,” he said.
There was a rope tied to the tree indicating the woman may have been trying to pull the tree down after the cut and couldn’t get out of the way fast enough.
“I’m pretty sure my words to her were, ‘what, are you crazy’,” said McGowan.
Feisty to the end he says she tried to refuse medical transport UMass Medical Center in Worcester.
Katelyn Springsteen is grateful she found her neighbor in time. “She said she had been there a few minutes,” Springsteen said. “If she was there any longer I don’t know.”