80-foot oak crashes into Northside home

Posted at 7:22 PM, May 23, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-23 19:22:50-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) -- A Richmond woman is picking up the pieces after a massive tree, believed to be more than 100 years old, crashed into her home Wednesday afternoon.

Barbara Chandler said she has been worried about the 80-foot oak in her neighbor's yard on East Brookland Park Blvd. in Richmond's Northside for years.

In fact, she said she sent multiple letters to her neighbor asking them to cut down the tree, but never received a response.

"Even after talking to the city, the insurance company, they would always say nothing could be done until the tree comes down," Chandler said.

However, since the neighbor's tree stretched into here yard, she was legally allowed to trim back the branches. Chandler said she did that multiple times, but that it wasn't enough.

Insurance agent Mike Fisher said homeowners should take photos of the neighbor’s tree leaning towards their home. Additionally, Fisher recommended sending a certified letter to whoever owns the property asking them to cut the tree down in order to more easily prove liability.

Luke Swenson, who trims and removes trees for a living, said any sign of decay at the base of a tree could mean big problems. He said getting a specialist in to help is critical.

"What an arborist can do is go in a start to take weight out of the section that's leaning over. Hopefully, that will equalize the weight of the tree," said Swenson, who owns Humanitree.

Chandler is staying positive now that the tree is down.

"I'm relieved that the tree came down. Even though it came down the way that it did, I don't have to deal with it anymore," said Chandler.