Commonwealth Journal

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June 13, 2013

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Damage done to four vehicle by unexpectedly downed tree branch downtown

Somerset —

If a tree falls in the city and everyone is around to hear it, it doesn’t just make a sound — it makes headlines.
That’s what happened Monday evening on North Main Street in downtown Somerset, when an apparently rotting tree branch broke off and fell flat across the road — damaging several vehicles as a result.
The large maple tree in the vacant lot beside the Carnegie Community Arts Center — where the longstanding house formerly belonging to the Richardson family stood before being torn down a number of years ago — saw one of its mighty limbs fall at around 6 p.m.
It happened without warning, and without an obvious cause. Weather conditions were clear and sunny, so lightning and wind were no culprits. No one had a ready answer at the time.
However, Lisa Compton, executive vice-president at Citizens National Bank — which currently owns the property on which the tree stands — said that tree professionals were employed to take a look at the situation Tuesday night and determined that the aging tree was rotting on the inside.
“They said you couldn’t tell it from the outside,” said Compton. “You had to drill in a little bit, but when they did, you could tell that it was rotting.”
No one was quite sure how long the tree had been there, but at the very least, it had stood in that spot for decades.
“It was just a freak accident,” said Compton.
She said the tree experts will need to take another look at it, but said that it’s likely they will recommend to have the entire tree cut down for safety’s sake, and expects that Citizens National Bank will ultimately have it felled.
In all, four cars were harmed by the branch, which was about two feet in diameter and 30 to 40 feet long — enough to stretch from sidewalk to sidewalk across two lanes of traffic. 

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