A large oak tree fell on a home on Oakcliff Road about 2 a.m. Monday, killing the resident inside the home. JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM

DeKalb County teacher dies when tree falls on NW Atlanta house

A northwest Atlanta woman died early Monday when a large oak tree came crashing down onto her home, authorities said.

The 60-foot tree, with a trunk about 2 feet in diameter, toppled onto the rear of a home on Oakcliff Road, in a neighborhood off Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, about 2 a.m.

“We did have reports of a resident trapped inside,” Atlanta fire Assistant Chief Chris Wessels told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“We brought our heavy rescue and collapse rescue resources in, and after about a 2½-hour operation, we were able to shore the house and gain access to the resident,” Wessels said. “Once we did, we determined that she did succumb to the injuries from the initial impact of the tree.”

He said crews had to cut through furniture and other debris to gain access to victim.

The DeKalb County School District identified the woman as Patricia Pusha, a science teacher at Ronald E. McNair Middle School. Pusha, 60, is originally from Savannah, according to her profile on the school’s website.

The toppled tree was one of numerous trees that have come down following a week of almost daily rain that has saturated the ground and weakened the root systems of some trees.

Atlanta officials, however, have not yet said whether the recent rain caused the tree to fall on Pusha’s home.

Pusha’s family told Channel 2 Action News that she had fallen asleep in her living room recliner rather than her bedroom.

“If she would have been in her bedroom, she wouldn’t have been struck,” Pusha’s niece Tanikki Echols told Channel 2. “This is just a tragedy for our family.”

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