Problem Solved: Elderly Summit County woman scared for her life asks 19 News for help getting rid of massive tree

Published: Jul. 13, 2022 at 7:14 PM EDT
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AKRON, Ohio (WOIO) - Jeanette West said one of the tallest trees in her neighborhood is losing massive branches almost every day and they’re all falling on her property.

“My insurance had to put on another roof and new siding because it hit the side and tore the roof up,” said West.

On Sunday, two more very large branches fell and West said it was so loud it sounded like a lightning strike.

The branches ended up knocking out her power.

According to West, the power was restored in about an hour, but the dirt and the branches were still left behind.

So, she called the city of Akron to see if they could clean it up.

West told 19 News Akron city workers came out, looked around, and then set up barriers closing the road.

“And that was it, haven’t heard from them sense,” said West. “This morning I called again and I told them I was calling 19 News and they sent somebody out.”

After we arrived on Tuesday, the city’s parks and maintenance crew got to work.

They cleared the road and the sidewalk, but then they stopped.

They told 19 News that’s all they could do because the tree is on private property.

West said she can’t afford to get the tree removed on her own and said she doesn’t know how to get in touch with the woman who owns the empty lot where some of the trees are located.

“I am 86 years old and I have never lived where I couldn’t get any help at all, " said West.

Now she waits, waits for help, or for what she said is inevitable.

“I’m gonna sit here and wait for the rest of the tree to fall, " said West.

On Thursday, 19 News contacted Summit County to see who owns the empty lot next door, to see if they could help West pay to get the tree removed.

We discovered that the lot has been empty since 2010 and that the two people who own it owe $30,000 in back taxes.

This gives officials the idea that these land owners will not be returning anytime soon.

So they suggested we contact the Summit County Land Bank, to see if they could help.

We spoke with the executive director, who told 19 News they would first need to see a map showing property lines.

Once they have that information they can quickly move forward on creating a plan that helps keep West safe.

They said long term, they could work toward acquiring the lot as well.

“Somebody has got to take that tree down and I can’t, “ said West. “There’s no way I can afford to get rid of that tree.”

Hopefully, the county can help her get it done before that tree comes crashing down.

But before they could find a solution a 19 News viewer stepped up.

Dillon Whited and other workers from Linger’s Lumberjacks cut down the dangerous branches hanging over West’s yard after Whited’s wife saw our previous stories.

“When I turn 86 years old I would hope somebody would come and help me,” said Whited.

The amount of work they did would normally cost West 25 hundred dollars, but the cost for this kindness was completely free.

“It’s just like I couldn’t believe that it was happening,” said West.

19 News also discovered that in the next few days the rest of the tree will be taken down by another company founded by the Summit County Landbank.

Leaving Jeanette West finally worry-free.

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