140-year-old tree crashes into Bridgeport building, displacing families

Three Bridgeport families are displaced after a massive oak tree crashed into their building over the weekend.

A large 140-year-old white oak fell atop Success Village Building 10 on Saturday afternoon.

Maria Rivera, 52, owns one of the three homes. She said her apartment suffered extensive damage.

Rivera says her life in Success Village has been extremely happy for almost a decade. The community is known for the many large white oak trees that fill the property and help give it its character.

But when the Great White Oak collapsed on Building 10, the life Maria built in Building 10 also collapsed.

Her kitchen was damaged, along with the living room and bathroom, which she just spent $8,000 to remodel.

She wasn’t home at the time, but said for the first time she understood what it’s like to be one of the people on the news who loses everything in a natural disaster.

The apartment above Rivera was unoccupied, but the large white oak tree blew a large hole in the roof.

This is what caused the water damage during the few minutes that heavy rain poured down on the complex.

“It’s all underneath. I don’t know how bad my clothes are. My daughter said my clothes were wet,” Rivera said.

“We have three members, including Miss Rivera here, who have been moved,” said Ty Bird, who is the new president of Success Village. Bird said that with the Association’s insurance coverage, the three families are staying at an upscale hotel until their condos can be repaired.

“I’ve been through a lot in the last two years, I’ve lost my job, I’ve lost both my parents, so that’s a lot what I’m going through right now,” Rivera said.

She said she suspects the tree collapsed not just because of an act of God, but because she said when the sidewalks were recently repaired and part of the roots of the l tree was cut down, which may have made it more likely to fall.

“I thank God no one was home. I think I would have been a wreck if I was in my house when this happened,” Rivera said.

Both Rivera and Bird said the turn of events was extraordinary and no one was injured. Bird added that displaced families will get the help they need because it takes a village to support a community.

Rivera and the association said they will press for answers about whether work done during the recent construction of the sidewalk weakened the tree and caused it to fall.

Lora M. Andrew