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CORONADO, Calif. – Crews spent hours Thursday cutting down a 60-foot eucalyptus tree in Spreckels Park in Coronado.

The City of Coronado deemed the tree a risk to public safety after a large branch weighing at least seven tons suddenly broke off Saturday morning. The tree was likely more than 100 years old.

“For me, it’s a little sad, because it’s such a beautiful tree,” said Debra Smith, who walks by the tree every day. “When I saw the branch on the ground – I knew it was trouble.”

The city, along with its certified arborist, held a meeting Tuesday in the park with residents to inform them about what needed to be done.

“He (the arborist) talked about how this tree had been improperly topped – maybe 50 years ago and it led to structural damage. As a result, it suffered ‘branch drop,’” said Coronado resident Charles Crehore. “There’s a high probability it could happen again.”

This branch drop happened without warning, in calm conditions and fortunately, no one was nearby at the time.

“What got me is – there were some little girls over there looking at it and they were going, ‘this is where we play all the time — if we had been there, we would’ve been dead.’ And that was it – I’m like, ‘take the tree.’ It’s not worth risking a child’s life – or anyone’s life,” said Crehore.

The city said the incident adds urgency to its tree inspections around town.

“Right now, we’re assessing all trees in this park. We regularly assess all of our trees — we have about 8,700 public trees in Coronado,” said Janine Zúñiga, a city spokesperson.

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