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Storm damage tears down stairwell, forcing people from their homes

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TUCSON (KVOA) - An apartment complex near Oracle and Orange Grove was hit hard by monsoon Tuesday night.

Over a dozen trees were knocked down damaging parking structures, vehicles and a stairwell that stranded people in their apartments.

Tree removal crews have been at work all day taking down the massive trees, including one that took out the stair rails to multiple second story apartments.

According to Northwest Fire, who responded to the call, nobody was injured and residents say they were out of their apartment within about 30 minutes.

"We were just kinda looking at the storm outside the balcony, from the apartment. It was storming really hard and then all of a sudden we just hear a huge like, 'oomph', a huge sound," said Javier Vega, who lives on the second story with his girlfriend Kirtsen Drehobl.

After the giant tree fell, they walked out their front door to see that their stairwell had been ripped off.

"I was just in shock honestly," Drehobl said. "Yea, it was really surreal to experience, it was not something we were expecting at all."

They grabbed their animals and about a weeks worth of essentials when they left, but considering what could have happened, they're relieved everyone is safe.

"We were 15 feet from where the tree fell and that was one of the things going through my mind is 'what if it had been a little further over? What if I had been looking out the door at that time?' We were super lucky and honestly grateful to be alive at this point," said Drehobl.

Crews removing the trees expect to be there for at least a week, Vega and Drehobl aren't sure when they'll be able to go back home.

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Mark Mingura

Mark Mingura joined KVOA as a Multi Media Journalist in October 2019. Originally from the valley and with ties to Tucson, Mark is excited to get back to his home state and tell the stories of the Old Pueblo.

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