Florida Man Dies After Fall While Trying to Trim Tree With Chainsaw in Preparation for Hurricane Dorian

A 55-year-old Florida man died this week while attempting to climb a tree with a chainsaw in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Dorian, fire officials confirm.

The victim, who has not been named, fell from roughly 15 feet outside his home in the 700 block of Suzette Drive, Ocoee, on Monday afternoon. The man, who was reportedly not using a ladder at the time, had been trying to get into position to cut tree branches, WKMG reported.

The Ocoee Fire Department and paramedics responded to the home shortly after 6:20 p.m., and the man was rushed to the nearby Health Central Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The man sustained injuries to his head during the fall, according to Fox 35.

Family members told Fox 35 the victim was a grandparent and a father of three. They said he had trimmed the tree in the past and was trying to protect the home from damages.

Homes in the region have been devastated by flooding and winds brought by the storm, but authorities stress preparation work should only be done by professionals.

"We need to be vigilant," Fire Department Battalion Chief Edwin Youman said on Monday, WKMG reported. "We have people who can help us out and companies to do that [storm prepping] because if you don't, these are the type of incidents that would happen."

"Get somebody professional to trim your trees, because it's not worth your life," the fire chief told Fox 35 in an interview. "A lot of people are not trained to do it, and some instances, we find that people are climbing trees and not even using ladders to make that happen, by trimming trees. If you are going to do it, you have got to have people around too, to assist you."

Ocoee Fire Department did not immediately respond to request for comment.

On Sunday, a 68-year-old man living in Brevard County died while putting plywood over the windows of his home in advance of the storm, which has claimed at least half a dozen lives. David Bradley, of Indialantic, fell three stories, Florida Today reported.

"He was putting up the plywood and lost his balance and fell through the screen," said Chief Mike Connor of the Indialantic Police Department. The investigation continues.

The death toll in the wake of Dorian is expected to rise as authorities now begin to coordinate search and rescue efforts, Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said yesterday. "We are in the midst of one of the greatest national crises in our country's history," Minnis stated.

In one recent advisory, the National Weather Service said the hurricane is forecast to turn north this evening followed by a turn north-northeast by tomorrow morning.

It says: "On this track, the core of Hurricane Dorian will move dangerously close to the Florida east coast and the Georgia coast through tonight. The center of Dorian is forecast to move near or over the coast of South Carolina and North Carolina Thursday through Friday morning."