ATTLEBORO — If it wasn’t for the cops, the Cortieses might have been crushed by a giant oak tree.

Dee and Peter Cortiese, both 75, came from back to their home at the corner of West and Roosevelt streets early Friday afternoon to find that their neighbor’s 50-foot oak tree had fallen and crushed their new gazebo.

“Thank God. That’s where I would have been sitting,” Dee Cortiese said, explaining that they weren’t at home when the tree fell because they were at the annual Attleboro Patrolmen’s Association picnic at the local Elks Lodge.

“We just got home and our neighbor came over and said, ‘I was trying to get a hold of you,’” Dee Cortiese said.

Cortiese said she and her husband just purchased the $1,200 gazebo and were planning on entertaining friends this weekend. Inside were tables and chairs.

“Everything is destroyed,” she said, looking at the mass of tree branches and leaves on top of the broken gazebo.

“I have people over all the time. We would have been killed,” she said.

A deck on the other side of their house, she added, was also damaged.

The tree, which was about 5 feet wide at the base, also ripped out an air conditioner from a window on the second floor.

The city building inspector came and determined the mishap caused no structural damage to the house, Dee Cortiese said.

The tree appeared to be hollowed out and, she noted, there was a family of squirrels in a portion of the tree that fell on her front yard.

“They were in there crying,” she said.

The squirrels apparently found another home by late Friday afternoon.

David Linton may be reached at 508-236-0338.

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