Tree in Berlin that causes power outages, damage could have been - WFSB 3 Connecticut

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Tree in Berlin that causes power outages, damage could have been knocked by Eversource

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Tree knocks down out power during storm. But Eversource said they offered to cut down the tree before the storm. (WFSB) Tree knocks down out power during storm. But Eversource said they offered to cut down the tree before the storm. (WFSB)
BERLIN, CT (WFSB) -

A huge branch came down off a tree during a storm, knocked out power to hundreds of people and played a part in delaying school for thousands of students.

Officials with the power company said they wanted to take that tree down months ago, but couldn't.

A severe line of thunderstorms tore through Connecticut last week. In its wake, it left tree limbs and power lines down across the state.

One of those landed across Hudson Street in Berlin knocking out power to 222 Eversource customers. Three schools are located nearby, and students were put on a two-hour delay.

"Sad to see a classic old tree meet its end,” neighbor Dennis Schweitzer said.

Living just across the street from that tree, Schweitzer and his wife said they've been worried about it for years.

"It always was my thought that it was only a matter of time before that main limb came down,” Schweitzer said. “And every time I’m out in my lawn or backing out of my driveway, I’m looking up to make sure I’m not underneath it."

Schweitzer wasn't the only one worried about the tree. Eversource said they had crews out talking to the homeowner about that tree last summer, and they wanted to take it down.

"We identified this tree as a potential hazard last year,” Mitch Gross, who is a spokesman for Eversource Energy, said. “We discussed with the customer, and we wanted to remove the tree but the customer declined. They were concerned the stump would remain."

Gross said they have 17,000 miles of overhead wire to maintain in Connecticut, and they trim about 4,000 miles a year.

"It's important to note, we don't grind stumps,” Gross said. “Stumps are an extra cost, and we have a set amount of money approved by state regulators for tree trimming and removal."

The homeowner decided the tree would stay. Gross said it does happen, but it's rare.

Last year, Eversource reached out to nearly 72,000 customers for tree trimming or removal, and only about a thousand turned them down.

That's of little consolation to neighbors who lost power last week.

"They shoulda let them take the tree down,” one neighbor said.

No one was injured by the falling tree, but the inconvenience of losing the power was horrible.

Eyewitness News wanted to talk to that homeowner about his decision to keep the tree, but he didn't want to speak with the station.

Eversource said despite the damage that branch caused when it came down, the homeowner is not responsible.

“It happens from time to time, but we work as hard as we can with the towns and our customers to make sure the trimming and removal takes place on a regular basis,” Gross said.

Eversource said they're not planning to be back out on Hudson Street in Berlin for another four to five years unless that homeowner changes his mind and gives them a call.

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