Wallingford family questions town after tree falls on their property

Jeffrey Baker said a tree belonging to the town of Wallingford is leaning on his home, but the town won't take responsibility for its removal. (WFSB)

There’s still a long way to go before things get back to normal after last week’s deadly storms.

In Wallingford, one family is living with a huge tree on the side of their home and they’re blaming the town, saying they’ve been given the run-around when it comes to the cleanup.

The family knows that once the tree went into their property, it became their problem.

They’re upset they didn’t get a clear message from the town communicating that to them.

Eight days after dangerous storms rolled through Wallingford, Jeffrey Baker’s home on union street looks exactly the way it did last week.

“There’s some visible damage to the exterior, the roof,” said Baker.

Wallingford’s Engineering Department confirms the tree belongs to the town, but as Channel 3 reported Tuesday night, even if the tree doesn’t belong to you, once it falls on your property, it becomes your problem and the responsibility for the cleanup falls on your shoulders.

Baker is familiar with the rule now, but he doesn’t agree with it.

“In my life experience, that’s not how responsibility works. The town was responsible for planting that tree, maintaining that tree,” said Baker.

Last week, as he was trying to get things sorted out, Baker says he was told many different things, from different town departments.

He says he was passed between the tree warden, DPW, a non-emergency line and the engineering department.

“Six days have gone by, almost a full week before we had confirmation that we are expected to be responsible for the tree and that the town is not willing to help,” said Baker.

With a tree crew coming to inspect the damage on Thursday, he says if ownership and responsibility was relayed faster, this tree wouldn’t be here today, still causing a potential hazard to local children and drivers.

“They’re out here on their skateboards and scooters, jumping on it. Doing stuff that kids do. What happens if a car comes driving by at night and doesn’t see this and they crash,” said Baker.

Channel 3 got in touch with Wallingford’s Engineering Department today and they say that they’ll handle the part of the tree that’s on town property, so it would be the lower trunk.

However, they also say that they can’t start on that or the sidewalk here until the top half of the tree is cleaned up.

Copyright 2018 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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