Pasadena city officials announced early Wednesday that an independent arborist is investigating what caused a large pine tree to collapse Tuesday afternoon near Kidspace Children’s Museum in Brookside Park, injuring eight children, two critically.

The two children with critical injuries were transported to LA County-USC Medical Center. The six other children were treated at the scene and released to their parents,

“On behalf of the city, I want to extend our thoughts and prayers to the injured children, especially those still hospitalized, and their families.  We are praying for their full recovery,” Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek said in a prepared statement. “Our public spaces, especially the Arroyo, are unique and draw thousands of visitors each day, so it is a priority for the city to maintain both the beauty and safety of our parks and open spaces for all to enjoy.”

The children were attending a day camp and were lining up to be picked up by parents when the tree fell. Horrified onlookers rushed to their aid and began digging through the debris to find the kids.

The city’s certified arborist with the Department of Public Works conducted a preliminary assessment of the downed tree Tuesday and could find no conclusive reasons for its fall.

According to Pasadena Public Information Officer William Boyer, the area around the accident will remain closed to the public until further notice.  Pasadena has an “urban forest” of about 60,000 city-owned trees in parks, open spaces and along city streets. The city conducts regular maintenance and care for all of the city trees. 

“I’m proud of the Pasadena Police and Fire department personnel and Kidspace staff for their quick response to the incident,” said City Manager Michael Beck.