PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — A local woman was caught by surprise Sunday when a tree gave way, crashing into her home and landing just inches from where she was sitting inside.
“It almost sounded like a gunshot,” Lisa Hayes told KOIN 6 News. “I heard this crack, crack, crack boom and felt like it was a bomb.”
Hayes said she was eating lunch when the commotion began. She said she was surprised to walk outside and see her neighbor’s tree had given way, crashing into her home.
“I think I stood in shock and screamed,” she said. “The wind’s not blowing, it’s not even stormy and it came down.”
But the unexpected Sunday visitor crumpled more than Hayes’ roof.
“The fireplace has been pushed off the wall, pushed up to the ceiling, off the wall a little bit inside the bedroom,” Hayes said. “The roof has come down, the ceiling is down a couple inches.”
Hayes said she received a damage estimate from a local tree removal service that gave her sticker shock. Just to clear her neighbor’s tree, she said, it could cost her around $1,900.
“This is my house, I worked hard for my house,” she said.
KOIN 6 News went to Fullhart Insurance in Tigard to find out who’s liable if a neighbor’s tree falls on your property.
“If your tree were to fall and cause damage to your neighbor’s property, it would be considered an act of God,” Rachelle Thayer said. “Therefore, your neighbor’s homeowner’s insurance or comprehensive auto coverage would be the one paying for the damage.”
However, Thayer said there are some exceptions.
“As a homeowner, if you have a tree that has existed damage, rot, etc. and you know about it and don’t do anything to take care of it and it falls over, you could be held liable,” Thayer said.
Hayes said her insurance company will reimburse her, but she will initially have to pay for the repair costs herself. Right now, however, she’s counting her blessings after what she calls an extremely close call.
“I’m thankful nobody got hurt,” she said. “My cats are ok, I’m ok.”
Hayes said she suspected the tree was rotting for quite some time, but her neighbor failed to cut it down. KOIN 6 News asked them for comment, but they declined.