Storm causes tree to uproot, crash on Roxborough home

Joan Renshaw of Acorn Street in Roxborough, was just steps away from what could have been a far more tragic fallout during last night’s storm. Renshaw had just walked in her front door when a large tree was uprooted by the heavy winds, pulling it up from under the sidewalk and onto her and her husband Ken Renshaw’s house.

“She walked in and she had turned around because she thought she forgot to close the door,” said neighbor Ron Dolenti, “The fact was, though, that the tree had actually fallen and pushed the door open. She had just come in the house and the tree fell literally moments later.”

Dolenti was inside his house just a few doors down putting his son to bed when he heard the loud crack, which he first assumed was thunder.   

“After the fact, I figured out that it was the tree coming down, hitting the side of the house and the wood cracking,” said Dolenti. 

He added that another resident in the neighborhood actually witnessed the tree slowly tilt and eventually crash on the side of the house.

“I had to come out because I had a shutter blow off,” said Dolenti, “I turned around and there was this big void in the sky and I was like ‘holy cow’, I yelled to my wife and said, ‘Ken’s tree’s gone!'”.

Dolenti said the tree came down at about 7:30 p.m., cracking the exterior brick walls of the Renshaw residence and damaging much of the landscaping. No one was injured during the incident but Dolenti said reports will be filed with the city for damage compensation due to the fact that the Renshaws had been requesting the tree be removed since 2006.

“They were going to come out and remove it in ’06,” said Dolenti, “After that, they came back out and said they were going to prune it, then they came back out and said it was okay. Then they finally came out and basically said, ‘well we don’t have any money to take it down’. Well, they have to pay for it now.”

Barry Bessler, Chief of Staff at the Fairmount Park Parks & Recreation office, said that he assumes clean-up at the Acorn Street home will be done by the end of today.

Bessler also expressed his confidence in the parks department’s professional arborists and their judgement on which trees are considered high priority for removal. He encourages storm victims to contact the proper city department if they would like to file a claim for damages.

Luckily, Joan Renshaw’s garden was already judged by the Horticulture Society last Saturday, but the city might just have to get its green thumb working to get it back to how it was prior to destruction.

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