7 On Your Side: Homeowner stumped on how to get rid of uprooted tree

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Friday, September 25, 2020
7 On Your Side: Homeowner stumped on how to get rid of uprooted tree
The homeowner was stumped - literally.

ELMONT, Nassau County (WABC) -- The homeowner was stumped - literally. Here it was left behind weeks after the 80-mile-per-hour winds of Tropical Storm Isaias subsided, a hulking uprooted tree stump and a potentially dangerous condition for neighbors.

The tree removal was the town's responsibility. But after calls to everyone from the mayor to his DPW went nowhere, he asked for some hustle and muscle from Nina Pineda and 7 On Your Side.

RELATED: Why did it take a week to remove a tree from this home?

It's a disaster outside Orville Francis's home.

"It's very frustrating," said the Elmont homeowner. "I'm trying to understand how to get this done."

Concrete sidewalk slabs, tossed about making a dangerous paved wave, uprooted by a hulking tree, toppled by Tropical Storm Isaias.

"It fell all the way across into the neighbor's yard," Francis said.

When the tree fell, it squashed a car and smashed the homeowner's fence. That was August 4th. The Town of Hempstead crews cleared the street quickly.

"But they left all of this," Francis said, pointing to a huge partially uprooted tree stump.

Francis's contractor says he can't close the fence until he figures out who is supposed to get this stump out of here. And calls to the town and local legislators, he says, have gone unanswered.

"It doesn't seem like any crews are going around checking or assessing the damage, prioritizing what needs to be cleared up," Francis said.

His property is protected by a tarp.

"I have two worries. This is a serious hazard for anybody who may get hurt here and the liability is going to be on me," Francis said. "And second, I have kids, ages 2 and 5 years old. This is an open entrance to my back yard. This isn't safe for them."

Then, Francis's wife inspired an idea in him to take flight.

"She always has the news on and it's always on Channel 7. That's why I knew your name so well," Francis said.

So he emailed 7 On Your Side and we talked to his town. A town representative said its crews already removed 500 downed trees. And the removal of stumps takes longer because it sometimes requires safely working around utility lines in the ground. But just days after our call, there was action.

Town crews took the tree stump out and removed the cracked concrete sidewalk slabs. The hole was finally filed and safety measures were installed.

"Thank you so much, without you, this wouldn't have gotten done," Francis said.

Sidewalk repair is routinely the homeowner's responsibility. Francis estimates between the concrete and the fence, it will run him about $2,000, and not worth it to go through his homeowner's insurance. He's just glad he didn't have to pay for the stump removal.



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