Dead tree casts ominous shadow over east side family

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — An east side family has been pestering the City of Buffalo to remove a couple of dead trees from a city-owned lot next to their house for almost 8 months.

But it wasn’t until they put in a Call 4 Action, that they finally saw something happen.

A big orange “X” marks the spot–spray painted on one of two dead trees next to Diane Hill and her mother–on French Street in Buffalo. They have been nagging city officials to take down the larger of the two dead trees, before it falls on their house and causes major damage.

The lot is owned by the city.

“I just want these hazardous trees removed. It is dangerous, lives are in danger,” Hill said.

Diane has a stack of letters from the city, promising to take down the big maple tree and a smaller tree that was snapped off in a recent storm.

“I got 5 letters, kept on saying they are going to come out, they are going to remove it. They are going to come out, they are going to remove it,” Diane said. However, after all that, “nothing happened.”

But when Hill dialed Call 4 Action in mid-December, that’s when a city worker came out, found the tree to be a hazard, and painted on the “X”.

“Call 4 Action, Channel 4–about a week-and-a-half ago. That is when they came out and put that big orange “X” on the tree, but that was after I called.” Hill says no one from the city has called her back since the tree was marked.

But this week Hill saw a tree fall on a house and destroy a garage in South Buffalo, on the news, Thursday night, and learned a man in California was killed when a tree fell on his home. It all gave Hill and her mother a heightened sense of urgency to remove the dead trees.

“After the windstorm we had, and then yesterday a tree fell through a roof over in South Buffalo? Then another place where the weather is really bad–trees are falling on people’s house and they are dying, because of a tree?”

But just a couple of hours before our Friday interview, Diane said there was a private crew on French Street trimming trees, along the street, for the city. But they told Hill they could not help with the dead trees because trimming trees, near the street, is different from removing trees near the rear of the property.

A spokesman for Mayor Byron Brown said, ground conditions have to be optimal to handle the heavy tree removal equipment, but Diane showed us the tracks from the heavy equipment used for the trimming on Friday.

The spokesman also informed News 4, the city has included the two trees on a citywide contract to remove dead trees, and notified Call 4 Action about it two weeks ago.

City officials have also advised Diane to hold on to that stack of letters with the unfulfilled promises to remove the trees.

What would Hill be able to do with them? “If the tree was to fall over on the house, they told me the city would pay to repair my mother’s house.” But if the tree falls and someone in the house is seriously injured or worse, Hill asks, “what about a life?” provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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