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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — High winds caused widespread damage across the region overnight, downing power lines and sending trees crashing onto homes and cars.
In Tarentum, the gusty winds blew a huge tree onto Frank Lee’s home on Allegheny Street. The tree was uprooted and landed on the house roof, porch roof and against the second story of the home.
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High winds pulled a neighbor’s tree down onto his home this morning. An old tree loomed over Lee’s property but wasn’t in his yard, until now and he says he may have to bear all the costs from the extensive damage.
Lee says he couldn’t believe his eyes or ears this morning.
“It sounded like a big firecracker and I was watching TV and then the TV went out,” Lee said.
The roof of Lee’s Tarentum home was crushed. Inside, the walls cracked from the force.
“This wall is bowing in, that’s the structural wall,” said the borough’s code enforcement officer.
Anthony Bruni inspected Lee’s house and says the danger isn’t over.
“If the tree were to shift at all it could cause further damage and then it would cause a hazard inside the house,” says Bruni.
The damage to Lee’s bedroom is frightening.
“Not only is the roof structure affected it’s actually gone through into the ceiling,” according to Bruni.
Lee has been restoring his 100 year old home for twenty years.
He was worried the huge old tree on a neighboring property would fall but was told the Buckeye tree was endangered.
“They said that the tree was an endangered species and that they weren’t allowed to cut it down,” Lee told KDKA News.
But Tarentum Borough code enforcement officer said, “I don’t know what entity would have made a statement about them I’m still trying to dig around for that.”
In addition, code enforcement says Lee will likely have to pay since the tree fell on his house. Lee’s insurance only pays for 500 dollars and the tree removal alone is estimated in the thousands. Lee says he can’t afford it.
“In 2015 I was working for a grocery store and I had a massive stroke and now I’m disabled and I don’t have nowhere else really to go,” says Lee.
Meanwhile code enforcement says this bedroom is not safe to stay in and neither is this house. Next is for the homeowner’s insurance company to come out and find out where they will go from there.
Meanwhile, in Butler County, the wind whipped through the Baxter Mobile Home Park in Center Township early Wednesday as well.
KDKA’s Meghan Schiller Reports:
A fierce gust ripped down a tree on the property of Patricia Schulte and sent it straight through the roof above her kitchen.
“I was watching TV and listening to the wind howling, and all of a sudden heard a smash and knew it was something pretty severe,” said Schulte.
Her landlord and his maintenance crew patched the hole by 8 a.m., but the damage is extensive underneath the patch. She said her landlord offered for her to stay at a local hotel, but she declined.
“I have a cat and this is our home,” she said.
There’s now a gaping hole in her ceiling and pieces of insulation and splintered wood are on the floor. The tree crashed down with such force that it even moved her kitchen island a few inches.
She said her home is surrounded by trees and its one of her worst fears to have one come crashing down.
“Seeing them right out the window, and they’re right there,” said Schulte. “I’ve always had a concern that something would come down anyway.”
She said this is the second time that a tree fell on her mobile home.
“So, yeah, we’re pretty fortunate that nothing more severe happened than that,” she said.
She said she’s now looking for a new place for her and her disabled husband to live without the threat of so many nearby trees.
In the City of Pittsburgh, over in Banksville, the gusty winds overnight brought a tree down onto a parked car on Kirsopp Avenue.
One wire also came down, and the tree was lying across the road.
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