Frederick Dalton, 74, killed when tree falls on Hopatcong house

High winds in northern New Jersey claimed the life of a Hopatcong man as he was sitting in his home Thursday.

High winds in northern New Jersey claimed the life of a Hopatcong man as he was sitting in his home Thursday. (3/14/14)

HOPATCONG - High winds in northern New Jersey claimed the life of a Hopatcong man as he was sitting in his home Thursday. 

Frederick Dalton, 74, was sitting in a chair in his second-floor living room when a tree came crashing through the house.

"I was inside the house and heard the crash," says neighbor James Beeh.  "My son and I went over to try to save him. We knew he was home by himself."

Hopatcong police responded to the scene, but couldn't get to Dalton fast enough. The massive tree split the house in half.

Officers used a ladder to climb through a second-story window at the back of the house. 

Lt. Thomas Kmetz says the scene was difficult to take in. "We searched for the victim and found him under the debris of the roof and the tree," he says. "His legs were sticking out. It was horrible. I've been here 23 years and I've never seen anything like it."

A small fire also erupted from a kerosene lamp. Officers were able to put it out using an extinguisher from their patrol car.  

One officer was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation.  

It took several hours for responders to cut up the tree so crews could get to Dalton.

Dalton's wife was at work when the accident happened. Rescuers were able to save two dogs from inside the house.

Neighbors hope the tragedy is a reminder to homeowners to cut down trees that could come down in future storms. 

 

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Trending Video

A 600-year-old white oak that sits on the 1 600-year-old tree to be removed in Bernards
Authorities in Newark are searching for a person 2 Police seek person who crashed stolen car into Newark church
A Rockaway Township police officer is facing charges 3 Morris County officer faces sexual assault charges
News 12 was told the fire started around 4 Firefighters clear warehouse fire, road closes
A 600-year-old white oak that sits on the 5 Crews begin removal of 600-year-old tree in Bernards

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Features

It's good to know you have Walt Kane Kane in Your Corner

It's good to know you have Walt Kane in your corner.

News 12 takes a look at the hottest Tech Check

Eric Landskroner has a look at the latest gadgets and biggest stories in tech.

News 12 On the Scene

Check out these exclusive videos from New Jersey celebs!

Sorry to interrupt...

Your first 5 are free

Access to News12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service Electric℠ video customers.

Please enjoy 5 complimentary views to articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.

LOGIN SUBSCRIBE