STOW — A giant twin oak tree split and fell in opposite directions onto two homes in Hiwood Avenue’s 3300 block early Tuesday morning. One of the sections damaged electrical service to one of the homes, causing sparks and smoldering for a short period of time in one of the homes.
The other section of the tree, in addition to striking the corner of the second home, severely damaged four vehicles.
Nobody was injured, firefighters had cleared the scene by 11 a.m. and workers were clearing the downed trees as of noon.
Stow Police Capt. Bryan Snavely said the call came in at 6:44 a.m. The road remained closed to through traffic at noon on Tuesday.
Fire Chief Mark Stone said the department was called to the scene about 40 minutes later, when smoke was observed coming from one of the residences.
Andrew Hutchinson, a resident of one of the homes said the tree fell with no warning.
"My alarm clock had just gone off to get me up for work," he said. "If it had been 10 minutes later when it fell, I would have been sitting in my truck out here."
Stone said firefighters using a thermal imaging camera saw fire in a wall about 15 feet inside the other home. They determined the fire was coming from a vent in the basement and entered the basement to put out the fire.
Two firefighters were then ordered to enter the house to look for two missing cats, one of which was found lethargic from smoke inhalation. Firefighters gave it oxygen with a pet oxygen mask and the animal recovered.
"Fire investigators suspect that when the tree fell, it pulled the electric meter from the wall of the structure and also pulled the service line inside the electric panel causing the electrical fire," Stone said, adding damage to the home that caught fire was estimated at around $40,000.
An estimate of damage for the other home and vehicles was not available.