Who is responsible for 120-foot tree that fell on North Olmsted resident’s yard?

Published: Mar. 8, 2022 at 9:15 PM EST
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NORTH OLMSTED, Ohio (WOIO) - Debbie Metro got a call from her neighbor telling her a tree had fallen in her yard.

When she went outside, she told 19 News she couldn’t believe what she saw.

“I started crying, I couldn’t believe the devastation,” said Metro.

Metro said the tree is about 120 feet long.

When it fell, it brought down several other trees and power lines as well.

Metro said FirstEnergy came to see the damage and they restored the power lines but didn’t remove the trees.

As of March 8, it’s been two weeks and the trees are still there, and the only thing holding them up is Metro’s garage that is starting to cave in.

“I didn’t know where to begin, or where to start,” said Metro.

Metro told 19 News everyone she spoke with told her it isn’t their problem.

Tree removal companies told her they can’t do anything until the wires are down, and electrical companies told her they can’t do anything until the trees are out of the way.

“I’m just concerned about the safety for the citizens of North Olmstead,” said Metro.

The 19 News Troubleshooter team started to make calls.

North Olmstead Director of Public Service Kevin Kearney sent 19 News the following statement:

“The City has happily worked directly with the homeowner to connect them with their local public utility (CEI) to resolve the problem. This is not a city issue, but a matter involving a private homeowner and their insurance company.”

FirstEnergy sent 19 News this statement:

Cleaning up tree debris left by emergency restoration work is typically the responsibility of property owners. While it is not our standard practice to remove or complete trimming on trees situated off our right of way, our forestry team cleared overhanging tree debris to help lessen the homeowner’s responsibility. We have been working closely with the homeowner and have expressed our willingness to work directly with their tree contractor to de-energize overhead power lines to ensure safe removal of the tree.”

The 19 News Troubleshooter team also spoke with FirstEnergy on the phone.

FirstEnergy told us they had spoken to Metro’s neighbor telling them that they would be willing to cut the power off while crews removed the trees.

However, FirstEnergy reiterated that they were not responsible for tree clean-up.

Metro believes otherwise.

Stating that FirstEnergy owns the easement between the homes and the wires on their easement are making it unsafe.

Metro wants FirstEnergy to pay the bill for the whole tree to be removed.

“I hope that First Energy steps up along with the communication companies and the city and does something about this,” said Metro.

But who is responsible for cleaning up the mess?

All parties are pointing fingers.

The neighborhood is hoping someone will foot the bill before the garage that’s holding up the tree falls down.

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