100 Foot Eucalyptus Crunched my Duplex

7 Replies

It would seem that this year needed to go out in a bang! Last night we had a severe windstorm which brought down a giant eucalyptus tree in our neighbors yard, taking down the power lines and landing onto my duplex. Thankfully no one has been hurt and overall, the property withstood the hit remarkably well. 

PG&E + the fire department came out quickly to deactivate the live wires. Then they left.

The property from which the tree originated is also a rental and I am in process of working with the tenants to track down the owner. It would appear that the managing owner died about a month ago and we are trying to get a hold of his estranged wife who inherits control.

I have called my insurance agent and she said they are happy to help, but that if I can get the other property owner's insurance, then it saves me the deductible as it should be covered under their policy.

Right now, I have a giant tree sitting in the back yard, intermingled with power lines, pushing up against the house / on top of the shed. I am not quite sure what is the next step. 

I have not been able to get through to a PG&E person yet due to the impact of the storm. Clearly PG&E comes at some point to restore power to the neighborhood. Do they trim and remove the tree at that point, or just clip the minimum and put the poles back up?

I sat down with the tenants today and they feel safe / are being cared for. The house is livable (once power resumes) and my rents are safe.  I know I need to get someone's insurance company out to review the damage. Do I bring out my own contractors or wait for insurance to assess?

Is there any value in the wood? Is it worth trying to sell it for firewood or furniture wood?Where in the process do I get an arborist to come clean out the yard if PG&E doesn't do it? Do I do it or try to wait for the other (absent) owner to deal with it?

Has anyone been through something similar and is there anything I should know / do / avoid from your experience? Thanks ahead of time for all the smarts.

Garden is gone. Shed is buried and upper branches leaning on side of house / roofline. 

Back porch took the brunt quite gracefully. Power wires intermingled into the branches.

@Shane Pearlman  wow, sorry to hear about the tree, but I am glad nobody got hurt. I live on the otherwise of the hill and a neighbor had a giant oak tree come down on their house. PG&E cleared enough of the tree to get power going, but the rest was up to my neighbor to clean up. I don't think eucalyptus has any value for firewood. I had been told that the oils in the tree are very flammable and potentially pop/explode when burned. I don't know this for a fact, but was told by another neighbor when he had one go down a few years ago. I would call in a crew and get it cleaned up to see the damage more clearly. Also, you don't want the liability of somebody getting hurt from the downed tree. 

Good luck!

Agreed, the power will only remove enough to get their lines back up.  Generally, the owner where the tree is growing has No liability for it, as crazy as that may sound. As far as I know they won't be responsible for your deductible. The responsibility/insurance is yours,  for the portion that's now on your property.  Call your insurance first, then get some removal quotes to negotiate your claim.  The tree guy should split the bill for the portions on your property vs the portion on the adjacent property, assuming one tree guy removes the whole thing.

We had a neighbors tree fall on our garage several years ago.  What we were told was that the neighbor is only liable if the tree was noticeably dead and in danger of falling, and they did nothing about it prior to it falling.  Not sure if that's the law,  or just how it worked out with our case.

This is a little of topic,  but I'm never one to pass up a potential deal...

If you track down the owner of the neighboring property,  you might want to inquire about buying it from the widow.

Those eucalyptus trees are dangerous after massive rains and then the wind storms. They seem to have shallow roots IDK. One crushed my friends car once. When I look at this one...are you sure that is a eucalyptus tree? It does not look like the ones I have seen. Not that it matters and glad everyone is ok. 

So Sorry to hear about this. Glad no one was hurt!

From my Alma Mater

@Brian Payne  that is brutal. The crazy thing you see from the picture is how high the roots lift. I didn't show the picture of the neighbor's property (as it isn't my place to post it online) but the roots from the tree lifted their shed and deck nearly 15 feet into the air. They may be worse off than I am. =)

Got a hold of PG&E - @Arlen Chou  & @Wayne Brooks  were right. They won't help much. Still waiting for them to bring the power back online. Its been over 48 hours. Feeling bad for the neighborhood.

Also got ahold of the owner. She was super friendly. @Tim Lindstrom  - I'm so with you (& matt) on the offer. I debated hard bringing it up right away, but decided to build a touch of rapport first. Her insurance company is coming out Tuesday and I'll coordinate with mine tomorrow.

I'm pretty darn sure it is eucalyptus, but I could be wrong. 

I'll let you all know how it pans out. Thanks for the support.

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