Police & Fire

Chatham Penn Terrace Children, Adults Run to Avoid Large Falling Branch: 'It All Happened in Less Than 10 Seconds'

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Tree branch that sent Chatham neighbors running for their lives on Penn Terrace on Tuesday night Credits: TAP Chatham
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The branch fell from the tree standing next to the trampoline, where children were playing seconds before the branch fell Credits: TAP Chatham
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Chatham first responders rushed to Penn Terrace on Tuesday night Credits: TAP Chatham
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Will Workman and Don Cavanaugh check out the damage done by the branch that fell in the back of the Penn Terrace home Credits: TAP Chatham
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Will Workman and Don Cavanaugh check out top of the branch that fell in the back yard of 9 Penn Terrace on Tuesday night Credits: TAP Chatham
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Don Cavanaugh talks to Chatham Borough Police Officer Agnes Cisek about the incident Credits: TAP Chatham
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Don Cavanaugh tells Chatham Borough Police Officer Agnes Cisek about the branch falling in the back yard of 9 Penn Terrace Credits: TAP Chatham
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Top of branch that fell across the back yard of 9 Penn Terrace as neighbors prepared for Fourth of July block party Credits: TAP Chatham
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The branch hit the corner of the Workman home at 9 Penn Terrace in Chatham Borough on Tuesday night Credits: TAP Chatham
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CHATHAM, NJ - Preparations for the Fourth of July block party on Penn Terrace in Chatham Borough were interrupted when a large branch cracked and fell across the back yard as children and adults ran to safety on Tuesday around 8:15 p.m.

According to neighbor Don Cavanaugh, his wife, Ann, was the last person to leave the yard and was standing on the patio where the heavy branch fell as he shouted to her "Run, Ann, run."

Ann Cavanaugh was the last to make it out of the yard and got clipped on the head and knocked to the ground by the branch, which also struck the back corner of the roof of 9 Penn Terrace. No one was seriously injured.

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"I'm okay," Ann Cavanaugh said as she walked away from the house holding a bandage on her head. "I think I'm okay."

Penn Terrace residents were in the backyard of the Workman's home making T-shirts and preparations for the Fourth of July block party when the tree branch started creaking.

"My neighbor heard creaking in the tree, the kids were on the trampoline," Don Cavanaugh said. "I was at this gate (leading out of the yard) and I saw him panicking and I heard the creaking.

"I knew something was going wrong so I ran back in, got the kids out of the trampoline. Everyone starting running and I turned around and my wife was still on the patio. I yelled to her and it clipped her. She would have been standing right where that broken piece is. That's the last place I saw her. It all happened in less than 10 seconds."

The Chatham Emergency Squad, Chatham Borough Police and Chatham Borough Volunteer Fire Department all responded to the call.

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