Wind storm knocks tree onto empty house, city officials say they can’t remove it

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Residents on Richmond’s south side are concerned about a massive tree knocked over by the wind storm that fell onto a house.

The tree has been hanging by a thread for nearly a week. The sight is literally stopping traffic.

“Because it’s amazing, I mean the whole ground is coming up,” said Chriss Gillespie, who pulled over onto the side of Bainbridge Street to take pictures. “I’ve been telling people about it for three days and nobody can believe me.”

Drivers rubbernecking on the busy road is one of the things causing concerns for neighbors.

“We saw somebody literally back up to take a picture,” added Collin Brooke, who has lived on the block for about nine months.

People are also wondering what’s the hold up with removing the tree.

“When is it going to be taken care of? No one has come back to talk about the tree,” Brooke said.

Brooke returned from work Friday night when she saw crews on the street, blocking traffic because of the downed tree.

“I can’t believe it’s still here after three or four days, I mean what happened?” Gillespie said.

8News spoke with Sharon North from the Public Works Department. She says the city can’t remove the tree because part of it is on private property. The landowner needs to remove the section on the house first, then the city can go in. That’s because if the city were to take it down, it could be held liable for damages to the house caused by the removal process.

City workers have been leaving notices, but North says no one has responded yet.

Neighbors say the house has been empty.

“Nobody lives in that home. The people had moved out a while ago,” Brooke said.

8News has reached out to the city assessor’s office for more details about the property owner. This story is still developing, stick with 8News for more updates.

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