Knoxville residents wonder who is responsible for cleaning up tr

Knoxville residents wonder who is responsible for cleaning up trees after storm

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Storms took down trees all across the area Tuesday night, and now people are left wondering who is responsible for cleaning them up. Storms took down trees all across the area Tuesday night, and now people are left wondering who is responsible for cleaning them up.
Jeffery Farmer walked outside of his Lonsdale home and discovered a massive tree landed on two of his cars. Jeffery Farmer walked outside of his Lonsdale home and discovered a massive tree landed on two of his cars.
Crews will clear any trees out of the road, but unless it’s a tree planted by the city, it’s up to a property owner to chop it up. Crews will clear any trees out of the road, but unless it’s a tree planted by the city, it’s up to a property owner to chop it up.
By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Storms took down trees all across the area Tuesday night, and now people are left wondering who is responsible for cleaning them up.

Jeffery Farmer walked outside of his Lonsdale home and discovered a massive tree landed on two of his cars.

“If it had come 10 more feet this way, it would have really destroyed everything,” said Farmer, whose convertible and boat just missed Mother Nature’s wrath.

The fast moving storms took down his neighbor’s tree. It was blocking one lane of Heiskell Avenue, but not for long.

“I’d say about an hour and a half after the storm, they came and cleared it off the road,” said Farmer.

It was a busy night for city crews. Three crews responded to 32 calls in Knoxville, removing trees out of the road.

Now Farmer is left wondering who is responsible for clearing the 60 trees from his yard and his cars. We took his questions to the city.

“If a tree has fallen down on private property and it’s not blocking a right of way, that’s for the property owner to clean up,” explained City of Knoxville Director of Public Works David Brace.

Crews will clear any trees out of the road, but unless it’s a tree planted by the city, it’s up to a property owner to chop it up.

The city will, however, come and collect the chopped up debris.

“If they clean it up themselves and get it to the street, we will come pick it up as part of our yard waste program,” Brace said.

Cleanup can be costly.

“Just to clean the tree up, I’m looking $700 to $1,000,” said Farmer.

Brace says if you have a professional crew cut up the tree, that company should clear the debris, not the city.

The first step to figuring out the mess is to contact your insurance company. Since this tree belonged to Farmer’s neighbor, his neighbor will need to contact her agent.

We asked State Farm insurance how that works.

“In the case of a tree damaging property, we do an investigation to discover the facts surrounding the tree falling,” said State Farm spokesperson Kipp Diggs.

The big question they need to answer is if the tree damaged, sick or diseased before it fell down.

“If the tree was indeed healthy, the owner would not be liable for the damage done to another person’s property. If there was some condition the tree’s owner didn’t address and the tree came down, then the person with damaged property would be in a position to recover for their damaged property,” Diggs said in a response.

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