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Friday, January 22, 2021

NEWS BRIEF: High winds cause trees to fall on Fairhaven Complex

Fairhaven residents evacuate residence hall due to fallen tree damage

Remains of a fallen tree on a walkway next to the Fairhaven Complex with Western worker in the background on Jan. 13, 2020.
Remains of a fallen tree, on a walkway next to the Fairhaven Complex on Jan. 13, 2021. // Courtesy of Rhys Logan/WWU.

By Alison Ward

Several trees fell on stack 3 of Fairhaven Complex at about 8:40 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 12, causing damage to the residence hall and one minor injury.

Western workers push part of the tree that fell on stack 3 of the Fairhaven Complex from the roof on Jan. 13, 2021.
Western workers removing the tree that fell on stack 3 of the Fairhaven Complex from the roof on Jan. 13, 2021. // Courtesy of Rhys Logan/WWU.

The trees fell from the Sehome Hill Arboretum and hit the stack where students are staying, according to a Western Alert sent at 9:34 p.m. University police and Facilities Management evacuated Fairhaven students living in the section of the residence hall where the trees fell and relocated one student affected by the damage.

“University officials cautioned against going into the arboretum due to high winds and urged caution because of the possibility of falling branches on campus,” said the Western Alert, which was sent to Western Washington University students and staff.

The wind gusts in Bellingham started at 7:53 p.m. with speeds increasing to between 30 mph and 40 mph by midnight, and stopped by 12:35 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 13, according to the Weather Underground. 

“We sent the Western Alert in order to let folks on campus know about this incident,” said Paul Cocke, Western’s communications director. “And to caution about the high winds and the possibility of falling tree branches on campus and in the arboretum.”

This story will be updated as more information is made available.

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