Friend remembers couple killed by tree collapse

SAN DIEGO -- A longtime family friend of the couple killed when a tree collapsed onto a Point Loma Heights home Monday shared more about the kind of people Jessica and Troy Nelson were.

Kay Derry told FOX 5 that the North Dakota city the Nelsons were from is very small compared to San Diego, so word traveled fast about their tragic death.

"It was just kind of ironic, they were always together now they’re in heaven together watching over us," said Derry, who knew the couple for more than 20 years.

Derry owns a business in Grand Forks that is just down the street from the Nelsons' business, Trojan Promotions. She says the couple were community leaders and always willing to help anyone who needed it.

On Monday morning, strong winds caused a pine tree standing nearly 90 feet high to topple right onto the vacation rental they were staying in. The couple were in San Diego for a trade show.

"They always made you smile and it just breaks your heart that we’re not gonna be able to see them around the community anymore," Derry said.

Meanwhile, neighbors surrounding the home claim they have voiced concerns over the pine tree long before it fell, but say property owners had been reluctant to remove it.

Google Maps images show the large pine tree leaning over the property line. Derry says the entire situation is tough to grasp.

"It’s hard for us to hear people arguing about the tree -- it should’ve been, would've been, could’ve been, but there’s always different sides to the story" she said.

In the end, she says her community will focus on offering support to the Nelsons' friends and family.

A third person in the house, who Derry says is Jessica's brother, was able to get out safely.

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