High winds topple tree onto dorm building, injuring WWU student

One student at Western Washington University was injured only slightly Tuesday night when high winds tossed a tree onto a student housing building in Bellingham.

It happened before 9:00 p.m. at the Fairhaven residence buildings on campus. Students say branches pierced the roof leaving a mess inside a dorm room.

The National Weather Service recorded more than 40 mile-per-hour gusts in the region around the same time.

This is just a portion of the giant tree that made an unwelcome entry into a university dorm room last night.

"It was just really windy and there were some branches everywhere," said Sage Nelson who lives in one of the buildings.

The giant tree was removed in pieces by crews on Wednesday, but the commotion when it fell startled kids across the courtyard.

"It was so loud," said Sierra Hein, "l it was just a bunch of cracking."


"I thought it was going to fall on our dorm," said Hein’s friend McKenna Fialdini.

"Everyone who heard it in the dorm came outside to see what happened," said Janelle Maloney who said she was inside the building when the tree fell.

Damage from the falling tree could be seen on the building’s exterior. Maloney says branches also punched through the ceiling where her neighbor lives across the hall.

"He had a small scratch on his hand," she said, describing her neighbor’s injury.

The university says the student’s injury was minor and then moved them to another room while crews assessed the damage.

These dormitory buildings are surrounded by an arboretum filled with trees. Students said they felt lucky the damage and the injury were not worse.   

"There’s a lot of trees around here actually," said Hein.

"I just thought about that yesterday when there was so much wind," said Fialdini.

However, Tuesday’s incident could have been worse. Students said pandemic restrictions had limited dorm room occupancy to a single person and it is possible more people could have been injured if more people were in the building.