Thursday, January 29, 2015

Brothers seriously hurt by falling tree in Levittown

Rescue workers barely escaped injury while helping teenagers outside their home.

Brothers seriously hurt by falling tree in Levittown

Two teenage brothers were seriously hurt and rescue workers were nearly killed when a tree toppled onto a Levittown house Monday night.

Ryan Dietrich, 19, was in stable condition in the intensive-care unit at Aria Health’s Torresdale hospital, and Kyle Dietrich, 15, was in stable condition, a nursing supervisor said Tuesday.

Ryan Dietrich suffered a head injury and was in an induced coma, his grandmother, Mary Landis, said. Kyle Dietrich suffered a broken arm, she said.

The brothers were outside their house on Blue Ridge Drive around 7:30 p.m. Monday, when branches from an oak tree hit them, officials said.

One of them was “walking around, wounded,” and the other was trapped beneath branches when Christopher Reif, chief of the Levittown-Fairlesss Hills Rescue Squad, arrived.

Reif and five other squad members removed the teenager, and then the tree “came down and missed us by a couple of inches,” Reif said.

“I’ve been doing this for 20 years, and this was the second time I felt was going to die,” he said.

Driving conditions were too dangerous and the brothers’ conditions were too serious to take them to St. Mary Medical Center, Reif said. Instead, they were taken to Aria Health’s Bucks hospital and later transferred to theTorresdale facility.

The victims’ father, Matt Dietrich, has worked for Home Depot for 19 years, and on Tuesday, about 15 co-workers were cutting up the downed tree and clearing the front yard as neighbors watched.

“One of the things about Home Depot is that we take care of our people and their neighborhood,” said Krista Sears, leader of the workers from the Bustleton store.

Once the yard is cleared, the co-workers will repair the crushed roof, broken front window and any other damage, Sears said.

“We’re doing the darnedest to give him all the support we can,” she added.

About this blog
Chris Palmer covers Bucks County for the Philadelphia Inquirer. His previous work has appeared in the New York Times and on several Times blogs, including City Room, the Local East Village and SchoolBook (which has since been taken over by WNYC). Contact him at, 610 313 8212 or on Twitter, @cs_palmer.

Ben Finley covers Bucks County for The Philadelphia Inquirer. He previously worked for The Associated Press, and the Bucks County Courier Times, where he won more than a dozen journalism awards from organizations including the Education Writers Association, the Society for Features Journalism and the Pennsylvania Bar Association. He grew up in Columbus, Ohio and graduated with honors from The Ohio State University with a degree in journalism. Contact him at, 610-313-8118 or on Twitter, @Ben_Finley.

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