Wind storm a ‘hectic’ boon to tree removal services
It was a literal logjam Monday, especially for those in the business of cleaning up downed trees.
“I’ve probably given 17, 18 bids already today,” said Kevin Kasavage of CLC Tree Service in Lower Burrell. “I’ve had people call me from Murrysville, Bellevue.”
“This is the most my phone’s rang,” Kasavage said. “I’m sure every tree service is getting swamped with calls.”
They were, according to Kasavage’s colleague B.J. Schaltenbrand of Beaver Jack Tree Service in Harrison.
“Very hectic. We had over 50 calls,” Schaltenbrand said.
Generally speaking, a storm hits a specific area but, in this case, high winds caused damage across the region, he said.
The cost to remove an average-sized tree that’s been downed by the weather starts at about $850, Kasavage said.
The price varies depending on where the tree is located and how much labor is involved to clean it up, he said.
Schaltenbrand charges similar prices and noted that, for an emergency removal, it costs at least $500 to even start the removal process.
Some homeowners’ insurance policies will cover the cost, but it depends upon the policy, Kasavage said.
“Usually, if it hits a structure, it’s covered,” he said.
Typical policies will cover the cost of removing a tree from a structure plus pay about $500 for cleanup of the surrounding area, Schaltenbrand said.
The removal process hadn’t started yet Monday for a tree that came down Sunday night across the 1700 block of Kimball Avenue in Arnold, although Schaltenbrand said he hoped to get it cleaned up Tuesday.
Jeff Coltz, who lives at 1719 Kimball Avenue saw it happen. Coltz also is deputy chief of Arnold #1 Fire Company.
He alerted Westmoreland County dispatchers to the problem as soon as he saw the tree, an evergreen tall enough to block the width of the street, was going to fall.
He notified neighbors to move their cars and all but one were able to. It wasn’t immediately clear Monday how severe that car was damaged by the tree.
When the tree fell, it sheared off two utility poles and damaged another, also causing the people on the street to be without power.
Coltz was told Monday morning that West Penn Power crews would be responding as soon as possible, but they hadn’t by noon and Schaltenbrand said the utility and insurance company still were assessing the damage before he could start removal work.
Even through the storm may not have downed trees, it doesn’t mean they aren’t damaged, Schaltenbrand said.
“It is a good time to get out and take a look at all of you trees and make sure they’re safe,” he said. “Safety is the main thing. We want to make sure people stay safe.”
Tom Davidson is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tom at 724-226-4715, [email protected] or via Twitter .