Storm Sends Tree into House in Henrico

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Crews spent hours cleaning up a Henrico home Wednesday after a morning storm caused extensive damage.

It happened in the 300-block of Westoe Road around 6:00 a.m.

From the front, the home looks untouched, but out back the destruction is clear.

Casey Barrows is an arborist with Ridgeline Tree & Landscape. He was called to help clean up. He says this is the worst damage he’s seen since the derecho in June 2012.

“Typically the tree will get stuck somewhere in the roof. This one went all the way through the roof and onto the hardwood floor underneath. That’s unusual,” says Barrows.

The tree took out the home’s living room and kitchen.

Barrows points to the red oak’s shallow root system as a cause.

“We had an excessive amount of rain in a short period of time with high winds on top of that, and the canopy of the tree acts almost like a sail, so if it gets wet enough, it can just pull the tree over,” says Barrows.

No one was inside when the tree fell, but neighbors who were in their homes say it sounded like thunder.

It’s something they say they’ve come to expect in the neighborhood. One neighbor we spoke with says he has already removed seven trees from his yard and is considering getting rid of another after Wednesday’s incident.

Barrows says even healthy oak trees can topple over, but there are some things homeowners can look for if they’re thinking about getting theirs inspected.

“If you see that the canopy looks like it’s missing, part of the leaves aren’t coming in, if you see any peeling bark, if you see an excessive amount of ants on the tree, anything like that can be a good sign,” he says.

Crews expect to have the scene cleared by 6 p.m.

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