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City Tree Crushes Gazebo, Spa: Will They Pay?

An oak tree maintained by the city crushed her spa and gazebo. Will her insurance company collect the $17,000 they think is due?

Will the city cough up $17,000 to replace a resident's gazebo and spa Monday night?

When a large oak tree the city maintains fell on a Barcelona tract home, it caused lots of damage, said resident Lisa Bracken.

"My husband was in the backyard when he heard a cracking noise and noticed the tree appeared to be leaning towards our home," she said. "My husband immediately called the city and as he was on the phone the tree snapped and landed on top of our backyard destroying the gazebo covering the spa."

The oak also damaged their wall, fence, furniture and some plants. Bracken said their house was spared because the gazebo stood in the way.

The impact also damaged the block wall, destroyed the wrought iron fencing and some outdoor furniture and plants. See photos of the damage attached to this story.

City staff is recommending that the council reject the damage claim filed by Bracken's insurance company.

It took a crew of about 10 workers a day and a half to clear the debris, Bracken said. She said the city also cut down a neighboring tree that threatened a neighbor's bedroom.

The Brackens have lived in the home for over 25 years, and cite the large oaks as one of the main reasons they purchased the home.

"These were beautiful, very old huge oak trees and we are very sad they are no longer there," she said.

Gloria December 04, 2012 at 05:34 PM
@Charles - so if it is MY money it is okay not to do the right thing and pay for the damage that I cause? Great attitude, that! Of course it is MY money - I live here! I thought that this sort of thing is part of what I pay my local taxes for. Please read my original comment. " if this were my tree that fell on someone else's property I would and should be liable". Sadly, it has happened with a tree from my property and it never occurred to me to not to pay for the neighbor's damages. Mother always taught me to own up to my mistakes. She would be turning in her grave. Mother also taught me not to judge in haste. If there is more to this story I would love to hear it.
KC December 05, 2012 at 03:02 AM
It is true, and my guess is that fiscally it works out in favor of the city. Some people may simply not bother going through the legal hassle of it.
Dan Avery December 05, 2012 at 05:36 AM
What do you folks think homeowner insurance is for? In the insurance industry this type of claim is known as an Act of God and is covered. No news here, let's move along. Show's over...
KC December 06, 2012 at 03:35 AM
They don't call it that anymore, but in this case (presuming they have it since you need it for a mortgage) I would say they probably don't want to pay the cost of the deductable and also don't want the rates hiked/policy cancelled after the company pays out.
Gloria December 06, 2012 at 09:37 PM
So when my tree fell into the neighbor's yard and scraped his roof - that was also an Act of God and should have been covered by the neighbor ('s homeowners insurance)? I know what homeowner's insurance is for, and had the damage been more substantial I would have gotten mine to pay for damages MY tree caused... but surely the city has insurance coverage for city operations, just like the homeowner does for his home, for this sort of thing happening. This is my assumption. But I would appreciate an education in the subject.

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