Contractor Mario Siles was doing work on a building with his 27-year-old son when the fatal incident occurred

By Joelle Goldstein
August 05, 2020 02:16 PM
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A 60-year-old man was killed Tuesday after a tree came toppling down on his parked vehicle as Tropical Storm Isaias swept through the northeast.

The fatal incident occurred around 1 p.m. in Briarwood, Queens, a spokesperson for the New York City Police Department (NYPD) confirms to PEOPLE.

Authorities say the man was sitting in his 2014 Dodge van on 84th Drive when the large tree trunk collapsed onto the roof of his vehicle, "causing it to be crushed downward, pinning the victim inside of the vehicle."

Responding police officers from the 107th Precinct showed up to help but were reportedly struck by the tree while attempting to rescue the man, according to WABC. However, the NYPD spokesperson confirms that the officers did not suffer any injuries.

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene and was later identified as Mario Siles of Manhattan, according to NYPD officials.

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Cristian Lopez, the super at the Winston Apartments, told the New York Daily News that Siles was a construction contractor who was completing work on the building with his 27-year-old son Diego.

"He was a contractor doing work for us," Lopez told the outlet. "He was renovating an apartment on the sixth floor after the tenant moved out. He was working with his son, who went up to the apartment with some materials. He was waiting for him to come back down. He was out there maybe 20 minutes total."

Lopez noted that the oak tree was so massive — measuring in at 40 feet tall and about three feet in diameter — that it instantly "crushed" Siles' body inside the van.

"There was a boom," Lopez recalled to the Daily News. "The tree came down and crushed everything."

"When the cops came, his son walked up. They asked him if he knew the guy. He said, 'He’s my father,' and then he collapsed," Lopez added. "Mario was a good, hard-working guy. He was a plumber but all did all kinds of work. He did everything."

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Siles' wife Maria Reynoso said she was also distraught over the tragedy.

"He was very special. He was my one and only. No one can replace him," she told the outlet of her husband, who owned his own contracting business for 13 years. "We're destroyed."

Siles wasn't the only person who was impacted by falling trees in New York City on Tuesday.

According to WABC, a woman in Brooklyn was seriously injured after she was struck in the head by a falling tree branch around 2 p.m. She remains hospitalized at Brookdale University Hospital in critical condition, the outlet reported.