'It sounded like a plane dropped out of the sky': Toh Yi resident whose home was damaged by fallen tree

The falling rain tree damaged at least three units and two cars.
The falling rain tree damaged at least three units and two cars.PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS
The tree was at least 40 years old and grew taller than their four-storey block.
The tree was at least 40 years old and grew taller than their four-storey block.ST PHOTO: MOHD KHALID BABA
A tree believed to be over four storeys tall and at least 50 years old fell at Kismis Court condo along Toh Yi Road.
A tree believed to be over four storeys tall and at least 50 years old fell at Kismis Court condo along Toh Yi Road.ST PHOTO: JEAN IAU
Contractors clearing the fallen tree at Kismis Court.
Contractors clearing the fallen tree at Kismis Court.ST PHOTO: MOHD KHALID BABA
Contractors clearing the fallen tree at Kismis Court.
Contractors clearing the fallen tree at Kismis Court.ST PHOTO: MOHD KHALID BABA
A tree believed to be over four storeys tall and at least 50 years old fell at Kismis Court condo along Toh Yi Road.
A tree believed to be over four storeys tall and at least 50 years old fell at Kismis Court condo along Toh Yi Road.ST PHOTO: JEAN IAU
The falling rain tree damaged at least three units and two cars.
The falling rain tree damaged at least three units and two cars.PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS

SINGAPORE - A rain tree fell on four-storey walk-up condominium Kismis Court on Toh Yi Road, damaging at least three units and two cars.

No one was hurt in the incident that happened on Monday (March 1) at about 10pm.

The owners of one of the damaged units, on the third storey, told The Straits Times they were asleep when they were woken up by a loud crash.

Mr Alan Woo, 78, and his wife Ellen, 76, got out of bed, drew their curtains and were shocked to see a fallen branch pressing against their closed window.

Residents said the tree was at least 50 years old and it was taller than their four-storey block.

Speaking about the ordeal from their unit on Tuesday, Mr Woo, a retired businessman, said: "It was so loud, it sounded like a plane dropped out of the sky and crashed into the building."

He and his wife, a retired teacher, have been living at Kismis Court, which is off Bukit Timah Road, for more than 40 years.

The railing of their balcony had been bent by the tree, and the couple hope the condominium's insurance or their home insurance will cover the cost of damages. Their car, which was parked next to the block in the compound, was also damaged.

Another affected unit, which belongs to their neighbour below them, suffered more extensive damage.

When ST went to her unit on the ground floor, the retired businesswoman who wished to be known only as Madam Fu, 84, showed how the garden was completely covered by the tree's branches, fallen roof tiles, shattered glass and the retractable awning that once sheltered her patio but had been ripped off by the fallen tree.

One of her windows had been smashed.

Workers from a landscaping company were using chainsaws to cut and remove branches.

Madam Fu, whose home is covered by home insurance, said it was not raining but it was slightly windy when she returned from a wake and saw neighbours gathered outside.

"(The electricity) in my whole home was tripped," she said, adding that gardening was her passion and she usually went out to garden in the evenings.

"The birds were always singing up there in the morning... It's quite a shame," she added.


The tree was at least 40 years old and grew taller than their four-storey block. PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS

The chairman of the council that represents residents at Kismis Court, Dr Geoffrey Benjamin, 80, said the tree was one of two old trees in the condominium that was checked by arborists every two years.

Dr Benjamin, an anthropologist, said the tree was pruned about two years ago.

He added: "The residents' council will hold a meeting to discuss the issue but the details of insurance and claims will be left to the management."

Insurance agents told ST that home insurance could cover the damage caused by a fallen tree since it could be seen as a natural disaster.

Vehicle owners of cars damaged by fallen trees within private property can claim against their own motor insurance policy, with payout amounts dependent on the damage to the vehicle.

The damage will be verified by insurance surveyors.

For Madam Fu, while she was grateful no one was hurt, she was sad about her 40 potted plants, which included hibiscus, basil and pandan, that were crushed by the tree.

She said: "I can't believe it. It used to be so colourful. Now, when you look outside, it's in complete ruins."