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Neighbor: Tree is going to take out a power line

Who's responsible: District of Columbia or Pepco
Number of votes to fix: 1

After the damage wrought by recent storms -- especially to our electrical grid -- griper Richard Bellin was wondering why no one has dealt with a tree in his NW neighborhood that is nearly touching a power line, even though, he says, he and his neighbors have tried to get someone to cut it down for several years.

The large, ivy-covered poplar is the tallest tree in the 7900 block of Orchid Street, Bellin says. A picture (see it on the jump) shows its trunk poking right between two wires and nearly grazing them.

"It's a beautiful tree, but it's going to go at some point and it's going knock out our power for days," Bellin said.

The Daily Gripe contacted Pepco spokesman Bob Hainey about the tree. Hainey said he would have someone in the utility's forestry division take a look at the tree.

"If it's pressing on a power line, it's definitely something we would look into," Hainey said. We'll keep you updated on the outcome. Stay posted.


By Washington Post Editors  |  August 24, 2010; 5:14 PM ET
Categories:  The District , Unfixed  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Pothole cluster patched
Next: Weekend roundup: Tree troubles


I can top this story. On Rockville Pike access road (bellevue drive intersection in bethesda) a huge Locust tree branch came down in July and is held up by power lines. The top of the branch overhangs the Pike; when it takes down the wires it will crash onto the northbound lane and take out some cars as well. I reported this at the time to Pepco (phone call); no action. I have pictures.

Posted by: anwylyd | August 25, 2010 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Living at the house right in front of the tree, seeing that tree is a daily cause of apprehension. Why? Because:

It drops large branches on a regular basis (so we can no longer park our car in front of our house)

It caught fire during a rainstorm, due to a power line touching the branches, causing the power to go out

It caught fire during a wind storm due to power lines rubbing against the tree, showering the street with sparks (you can see where it caught fire - look for the orange plastic sleeve put on the power line to prevent the power line from touching the tree). Again, this caused the power to go out.

It has pushed up the sidewalk so that it really is not safe for people with walking difficulties to walk over that part of the sidewalk.

And last but not least, one day I was under the tree talking to a friend, and it dropped a branch on my head!

Fire department personnel have repeatedly said to my wife and I that this tree is going to come down next, and that it will either fall on my house or our neighbor's house across the street, taking all the power lines and utility poles with it. But I'm sure you can appreciate that I'm more worried about my and my family's safety, even more than the power lines issue.

Part of the electrical solution is that PEPCO should put the power lines underground - with every storm they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix our power - money that could be used to put the lines underground. Make no mistake, this will continue to happen.

Another part of the problem is that it appears DC policy is that tree preservation is more important than the safety of people or the protection of property. Several years ago a tree fell on the house across the street from me - you all probably saw it - it was on TV. The neighbor whose house the tree fell on had for years been repeatedly sending letters to DC government stating that the tree was unsafe because it had grown too tall, and particularly during storms it swayed far too much, and appeared like it would fall. Nothing was ever done. And one day, it fell. It crushed her roof, and much of her second floor. Fire and rescue people said that if she had been on her second floor, she may have been killed - not just from the main trunk, but from all of the branches that acted like spears piercing through various rooms on the second floor.

I hope that doesn't happen to me and my wife. We're allergic to spears, and prefer not being crushed.

Posted by: ironsnob | August 25, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

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