‘I could’ve been dead,’ Tarentum homeowner says after tree falls onto house | TribLIVE.com
Valley News Dispatch

‘I could’ve been dead,’ Tarentum homeowner says after tree falls onto house

Brian C. Rittmeyer

Tarentum tree

A Tarentum homeowner is feeling lucky to be alive after a large tree fell onto his house Wednesday morning, causing severe damage to the roof and leaving a hole in the ceiling directly over his bed.

Fortunately, Frank Lee already was downstairs and watching television when the tree fell onto his home at 400 Allegheny St. shortly after 8 a.m.

“Thank God I wasn’t in my bed,” he said.

Lee said he’s lived there since 1996, and recently had the house renovated.

“I was watching TV,” he said. “I heard this big bang, like a firecracker.

“If I was upstairs, I could’ve been dead.”

Tree branches and limbs also fell onto Lee’s car, which was parked in a driveway on the opposite side of the house from the tree.

An employee with Tarentum’s electric distribution department removed the parts of the tree that were on the power line to the house. The service was damaged and would need some repair, but the power could be left on, he said.

Borough code enforcement Officer Anthony Bruni said he told Lee he should not stay in the house Wednesday night.

“There’s definitely some structural damage” to the house, Bruni said. Lee “is going to stay with family or friends (Wednesday night).”

Bruni said he’ll inspect the house again and determine if it’s habitable after the tree is removed, which may happen Thursday.

“My concern is it affected the outside wall,” he said. “There is some bowing in the interior.”

The Pittsburgh region was under a wind advisory Wednesday morning, according to the National Weather Service. No readings for the Tarentum area were available.

Peak wind gusts reached 44 mph at Pittsburgh International Airport on Tuesday night.

Lee’s next door neighbor, Tim Swartz, had a tree cut down in his own back yard on Tuesday after a limb fell from it into his yard last week. The trunk was still standing, with the cut up wood still in his yard.

He acted fast, he said, because he was worried about it damaging his shed or his other neighbor’s fence.

Squirrels had burrowed into the Norwegian maple, weakening it, Swartz said.

Swartz said he was getting ready to jump in the shower Wednesday morning when he heard a bang.

“The wind gust through and there was a big crash,” Swartz said. “We thought the roof flew off.”

The tree is on another property next to Lee’s. Bruni said that owner is responsible for it. An owner of that parcel did not respond to request for comment.

“The good thing is, both have insurance,” Bruni said. “The better thing is nobody got hurt. It could have been very bad.”

Bruni said he does not expect to issue any citations.

“We’re just hoping that the homeowner is going to be able to get his house safe and repaired,” he said.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, [email protected] or via Twitter .


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Brian C. Rittmeyer | Tribune-Review
A tree fell onto a home on Allegheny Street in Tarentum on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019. A wind advisory was in effect, with sustained winds of 15 mph gusting to 32 mph recorded at Pittsburgh International Airport, according to the National Weather Service.
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LOUIS B.RUEDIGER | TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tarentum resident Frank Lee of 400 Allegheny St. looks over the damage to his home after a large tree fell onto it on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019.
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LOUIS B.RUEDIGER | TRIBUNE-REVIEW
A large tree fell onto the home of Frank Lee at 400 Allegheny St. in Tarentum on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019.
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LOUIS B.RUEDIGER | TRIBUNE-REVIEW
A large tree fell onto the home of Frank Lee at 400 Allegheny St. in Tarentum on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019.
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A large tree fell onto the home of Frank Lee at 400 Allegheny St. in Tarentum on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019.
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LOUIS B.RUEDIGER | TRIBUNE-REVIEW
A large tree fell onto the home of Frank Lee at 400 Allegheny St. in Tarentum on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019.
744699_web1_VND-TarentumTree3-021419
LOUIS B.RUEDIGER | TRIBUNE-REVIEW
A large tree fell onto the home of Frank Lee at 400 Allegheny St. in Tarentum on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019.
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LOUIS B.RUEDIGER | TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tarentum resident Frank Lee of 400 Allegheny St. looks over the damage to his home after a large tree fell onto it on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019.
744699_web1_vnd-tarentumtree3-021419
The damage in Frank Lee’s bedroom, directly over his bed, after a tree fell onto his house on Allegheny Street in Tarentum on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019. Lee was downstairs watching TV when the tree fell shortly after 8 a.m.
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The damage in Frank Lee’s bedroom, directly over his bed, after a tree fell onto his house on Allegheny Street in Tarentum on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019. Lee was downstairs watching TV when the tree fell shortly after 8 a.m.
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The damage in Frank Lee’s bedroom, directly over his bed, after a tree fell onto his house on Allegheny Street in Tarentum on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019. Lee was downstairs watching TV when the tree fell shortly after 8 a.m.
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A Google image from August 2016 shows the tree in front of Frank Lee’s home on Allegheny Street in Tarentum. The tree fell onto his house on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019.
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A Google image from August 2016 shows the tree in front of Frank Lee’s home on Allegheny Street in Tarentum. The tree fell onto his house on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019.
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A Google image from August 2016 shows the tree in front of Frank Lee’s home on Allegheny Street in Tarentum. The tree fell onto his house on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019.
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A Google image from August 2016 shows the tree in front of Frank Lee’s home on Allegheny Street in Tarentum. The tree fell onto his house on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019.
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A Google image from August 2016 shows the tree in front of Frank Lee’s home on Allegheny Street in Tarentum. The tree fell onto his house on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019.
744699_web1_vnd-tarentumtree2-021419
A Google image from August 2016 shows the tree in front of Frank Lee’s home on Allegheny Street in Tarentum. The tree fell onto his house on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019.
744699_web1_vnd-tarentumtree2-021419
A Google image from August 2016 shows the tree in front of Frank Lee’s home on Allegheny Street in Tarentum. The tree fell onto his house on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019.
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