Perilous pine like a 'drunk driver' is taken down

| 11 Jun 2015 | 11:16

By Linda Fields
— When a dead tree poses a safety threat, commonsense says take it down.

In the past, people have lost their lives from trees falling onto cars in Pike County and elsewhere.

Recently, the Associated Press reported that property owner in Somerset County paid to remove 60 dead or dying trees along Route 403, where last year a tree that fell on a car killed two child passengers (see related story). But taking down a tall tree can be costly and in many cases unaffordable for a homeowner.

Until Thursday morning, a very tall, very dead pine tree leaned precariously toward Water Street in Milford, near the Upper Mill, which sees a considerable amount of foot and vehicle traffic. This dead tree, set back from the road, was tall enough to take the power line down with it, if it fell. Milford resident Camilla Doyle said she feared it might also take a life.

“I’m afraid to drive by it, especially when there’s wind or rain," she had said earlier.

She hoped the power company would help.

It did. After hearing from the Courier, line chief Joe Cronin of Orange & Rockland Utilities checked out the tree and promised to “pass it on to the powers that be,” explaining that his equipment was not up to the task. He said taking down every dead tree would be like “getting every drunk driver off the road,” but he agreed this tree should come down. He said he would tell his dispatcher.

So who is equipped for the task?

Henry Fairweather of Nelson Tree Service, a contractor for O&R, said the tree was already highlighted on his map. The once-proud pine will come down safely, he said.

Camilla Doyle responded to the news with one word.

“Hallelujah," she said.
In then in a flash on Thursday, the tree was gone, and with it, the potential for harm.