Utility worker accidentally knocks tree into woman's home

Hollywood to pay for repairs after tree crashed into Mary Kay Stewart's house

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. - City of Hollywood utility crews who were repairing a broken water line accidentally knocked a Royal Palm tree over and into a elderly woman's home .

"I had no idea. I just knew something happened," said Mary Kay Stewart.

Stewart, 90, owns the red brick home, which has been in her family almost 70 years, at the corner of 12th Avenue and Harrison Street. The 30-foot tall palm tree crashed through her back porch just after dinner Monday, landing only a few feet away from where she was standing in the kitchen.

"All of a sudden, there was a terrible crash. I just thought my house was coming down," Stewart told Local 10's Roger Lohse.

A worker accidentally hit the tree with the front bucket of an excavator. Witnesses said the equipment operator was so upset over the mistake that he was in tears.

The city will pay for the repairs. The city manager reportedly told employees to treat Stewart like she was their grandmother.

"Obviously, it's a situation that's very unfortunate and we're trying to do everything we can to comfort her and make sure that this is minimal inconvenience to her as a result of this," said city spokesman Jamie Hernandez.

Residents living in the historic section of the city treasure the Royal Palm trees, and despite her close encounter with one, Stewart said she wouldn't want to live anywhere else.

"It's a strong little house," she added.

PHOTOS: Crews clean up fallen tree

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