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Published: 6/25/2010

South Toledo resident feared house might fall when hit by tree

BY SARAH MERVOSH
BLADE STAFF WRITER
City employees remove a tree that fell onto Brandi Phillips' South Toledo home. City employees remove a tree that fell onto Brandi Phillips' South Toledo home.
JETTA FRASER Enlarge

After Wednesday's storms drove a tree through the roof of a South Toledo house, Brandi Phillips no longer has her collection of family photos. Instead, she has three holes in her roof.

"If I stand in my living room and look out, I can see the sky," Ms. Phillips, 26, said.

Ms. Phillips was watching TV in her living room around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday when the basswood tree in front of her house snapped and crashed onto her roof.

"I thought the house was going to fall down," she said. "The whole house shook when the tree came down on it."

Neither Ms. Phillips nor the four children in the house were hurt, but neighbors on her front porch at the time were treated for minor injuries.

The trunk of the tree, which was about 50 feet tall, snapped at about the 20-foot mark, tearing through the roof. Heavy rains from the overnight storm poured into the living room and destroyed Ms. Phillips' family photos.

The tree on Havre Street was located on city property and Ms. Phillips said she asked the city to remove the tree after tornadoes hit the area earlier this month. But a city official said she called about a different tree.

"We checked the record. She had called in about a tree in the alley," Dennis Garvin, Parks and Forestry Commissioner, said. He said forestry did not trim the tree in the alley because it does not deal with trees on private property.

Ms. Phillips said the tree that fell on her home was hollow and rotted.

"It's soft, like butter," she said.

Though Mr. Garvin said the tree was a little soft, there was nothing on the outside that indicated the tree was unhealthy.

"From the outside, it looks completely and totally healthy," he said. "We were really surprised."

Mr. Garvin said a crew got to Ms. Phillips' house shortly after midnight yesterday, but the tree was too large to be removed right away. It was removed by yesterday afternoon.

Ms. Phillips said a contractor initially estimated the damages to be about $15,000 to $20,000, but was not able to assess the interior because the tree was still on the house at the time.

She said her insurance should cover repairs to her home.

Contact Sarah Mervosh at:

smervosh@theblade.com

or 419-724-6050.



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