Calif. Family of 4 Nearly Crushed to Death After Redwood Trees Fall on Their RV: 'I Was Panicked'

"If I was over another six inches the whole tree would have crushed me," Matthew Boersma said

Calif. Family of 4 Nearly Crushed to Death After Tree Falls on Their RV
Matthew Boersma, his wife Danielle Brajkovich and their two teen daughters. Photo: GoFundMe

A California community is rallying around a family of four, who narrowly escaped death over the weekend after a tree fell on top of their RV.

Matthew Boersma said he felt extremely lucky that nothing worse happened to him and his family after the storm swept through Marin County on Sunday, ABC affiliate KGO-TV reported.

While Boersma was taking a nap on his bed around 6 p.m., several massive Redwood trees came toppling down onto their RV, crushing their temporary home in half.

Boersma's wife, Danielle Brajkovich, was also in the motorhome at the time with one of their daughters and their two dogs, while their other daughter was in the construction tent outside, according to the outlet.

"If I was over another six inches the whole tree would have crushed me," Boersma recalled to KGO-TV. "The other side of the bed is completely flattened and that's where Danielle sleeps, so if she had laid down to rest with me, she probably would have been dead."

Calif. Family of 4 Nearly Crushed to Death After Tree Falls on Their RV
The RV crushed by the Redwood tree. GoFundMe

The incident came at an unfortunate time for the family, who had been staying in the RV for the last year while their new home in Kentfield was being built, KGO-TV reported.

Heartbreakingly, it also happened just one night after they had to put their dog Maiu down, according to a GoFundMe page that was set up for the family by Boersma's coworker, Dave White.

"The night before the trees destroyed his RV, Matthew had a veterinarian put Maui, his youngest dog, to rest," White wrote. "Maui was basically a big puppy, at 9 months old. Maui started suffering several weeks ago from a tumor found in his lung, and it only increased."

"It was an act of mercy, and Maui will be missed by his family and by the people at Matthew's work, who interacted with Maui whenever Matthew would bring him to work," White continued. "He was a gentle giant."

family dogs
The family's dogs. gofundme

The family told KGO-TV that the trees fell after they received more than a foot of rain over the weekend. They also had an arborist recently inspect the trees and determine they were safe — but even so, that didn't prevent the terrifying moment from unfolding.

"The soil just gave out and then the trees, three of them at the same time, came toppling over right onto the top of the RV," Brajkovich recalled to the outlet, adding that, "glass went flying, the whole RV was shaking back and forth, and I looked over and I was panicked."

"I woke up and I heard Danielle screaming for the dogs and I noticed this tree was right up against my shoulder," Boersma recalled to the outlet. "I saw a little bit of an opening so I reached out and said, 'Hey, I'm okay!'"

The family before their RV was crushed by trees. gofundme

Brajkovich later said she couldn't help but feel like Maiu played a role in saving her husband's life.

"Our dog had just passed the night before," she explained to the outlet through tears. "I think he was our guardian angel saving his life because had the tree not fallen over and not gotten wedged between two other trees, he would have been crushed."

Though Boersma survived the ordeal, he did sustain a concussion from being hit in the head by the tree trunk, according to the GoFundMe page. He told KGO-TV that went to the ER following the incident and also had a black eye and bump on his forehead.

As for the rest of the family, no one else was significantly injured, White stated on the fundraiser.

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While the family recovers from the traumatic incident, White said they are staying at a local Best Western and "no doubt, working on a plan for the near future."

Until they have a more permanent solution, White asked loved ones to help the family through monetary donations, which will be used to remove the trees and the destroyed RV as well as pay for hospital and vet bills, and lodging costs.

"Any contribution to help Matthew and his family, during this rough period, is appreciated," White wrote. "Matthew is the type of person who will go far out of his way to help others who ask for his help. He has helped me in times of need."

"I've never known him to be anything, if not a very good person," White added. "It is my honor to set up this GoFundMe to help Matthew, his wife, Danielle, and his daughters, Taylor and Liliana, during their time of need."

So far, the page has raised over $4,300. Those interested in donating can do so here.

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