Outside of a Walgreens, half of a tree is on the road, crashing a bus stop right underneath.
The aftermath of the windstorm on Feb. 21, 2023 on Potrero between 23rd and 24th St. Photo by Chuqin Jiang.

As pedestrians walked up Potrero near 23rd Street, an SFMTA officer warned of a fallen tree ahead and directed the southbound traffic to turn left onto 23rd toward Utah. 

Half of a large ficus tree outside of Walgreens at Potrero Ave. and 24th Street fell shortly before 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, crashing into a bus stop. Overhead wires dislodged by the tree threatened a parked sedan and truck, but neither were damaged and no one was injured.

Yellow cordons put up around the fallen tree.
The downed tree from the view of the 24th Street and Potrero Ave intersection. Some wires were down on the street. Photo by Chuqin Jiang.

Devon Anderson, the field operation manager from the San Francisco Municipal  Transportation Agency, said he got a phone call at 1:36 p.m. When he arrived, the San Francisco Police Department and the San Francisco Fire Department were already on the scene, helping to rescue the passengers in the parked vehicles and to remove the overhead power lines that had come down with the tree. 

After the SFPD put up the yellow cordons on both sides of 23rd and 24th streets, Anderson and two of his colleagues stayed to direct the traffic.

A man from SFMTA is directing the traffic. A yellow school bus just passed him.
Devon Anderson is directing the traffic on 24th Street. Photo by Chuqin Jiang.

“I am so scared,” said an elderly woman who witnessed the incident. “I could have walked under that tree when it happened.” 

The woman had an appointment at San Francisco General Hospital at 1:50 p.m. and was waiting to cross the street when she saw the tree suddenly came apart, bringing down wires which emitted sparks as they fell. 

“I heard someone screaming,” she said. “I thought it was from people right in that bus station but it turned out to be from passersby like me.” 

“Thank god no one was there,” she said, making a sign of the cross. As she left to go home to “calm herself down,” she reminded others to stay away from trees.

A man working at the Wok & Go, a Chinese restaurant right across the street, said the emergency team came 10 minutes after the tree fell. 

At around 2:50 p.m. a truck sent out more people from Public Works with safety hard hats and tools to fix the wires.

Some workers from government department gathering in front of the downed tree.
Workers from SFMTA and Public Works are discussing the solution after the incident. Photo by Chuqin Jiang.

Several bus lines were rerouted. A minor traffic delay was caused in both directions. The tree was one of five downed today by strong winds, according to the SFMTA Twitter.

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INTERN DATA REPORTER. Chuqin has two degrees in data journalism and she is passionate about making data more accessible to readers. Before arriving in the Mission, she covered small business and migratory birds in New York City while learning to code and design at Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism. She loves coastal cities, including SF and her hometown Ningbo.

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    1. Is there a problem with hating a tree type that snaps and falls on a regular basis? Doesn’t seem to be the best idea to keep them in place in a dense urban environment.

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  1. The save the ficus coalition will be having a word with Mother Nature after this one. Where was the community hearing?

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