Unplug this blog!

Dead tree just misses Powell River-area house, smashes pickup

Homeowners advised to check for root rot, take down tall trees in danger of falling.

Posted by Rob Klovance

A tree that fell and hit a parked pickup truck during an October storm in Powell River is a graphic reminder of the need to check and/or remove dead or dying trees located near power lines and homes.

BC Hydro power line technician Jason Lombardo responded to a customer's trouble call during Powell River's first big windstorm of the fall season on October 2. He arrived at an oceanfront property just north of Powell River to discover a good-news, bad-news situation.

The good news is that no one was hurt and that the tree barely missed a home on the property. The bad news was that it did major damage to the box of a truck the owner was in the process of trying to sell.

"It was a dead tree that had root rot," said Lombardo, who couldn't resist taking a photo of the tree and truck during his visit. "We went in about a week later, and took down all the [power lines] so that he could remove four other trees like that."

The lesson for fellow British Columbians, according to Lombardo, is to be wary of root rot after our extended summer. While he's a veteran power line technician, he has learned a lot about tree issues in the Powell River area since moving there about 18 months ago.

"We probably had 10 trouble calls in the middle of August, in beautiful weather, with trees coming down because of root rot," he said. "We talked to the [arborist] up here, and he says this happens every single year."

Lombardo advises that customers with tall, older trees on their property get them checked by an arborist for root rot.  "It wouldn't hurt to have them assessed once in awhile, especially if there within tree distance of your homes," he said.

Lombardo adds that homeowners should get to know the direction of prevailing winds in their area — in Powell River wind usually blows from the southeast. "If you're aware of where the winds often blow, check to see what will be in the way [if a tree falls]," he said.

'It was a beautiful truck'

"We repaired all the wire damage at the neighbour's house," said Lombardo. "The guy whose truck was hit is actually a logger, so he took the tree off his own truck after we left. The truck actually saved the house, because the tip of the tree damaged the gutters of the house, then stopped.

"It's too bad because he was going to sell the truck — it was actually a beautiful truck — to a buddy of his three days later."


Pruning near power lines

Rob Klovance is managing editor of bchydro.com.