City says it's not at fault for falling tree - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

City says it's not at fault for falling tree

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The city of Savannah said they are not at fault for the tree falling on the silver Dodge Charger Tuesday at the corner of Henry St. and Pennsylvania Ave.

A mother and her child were inside. Thankfully, they were not hurt.

The city's spokesperson, Bret Bell, said the Parks and Tree Department inspected the tree in December, but they had no way of knowing it was rotten inside.

Bell said they did everything they could to make sure the tree was safe. Bonnie Carter, the owner of the house that's just a few feet away from where the tree once stood, said she called the city out to prune the tree in December.

She said it looked like that's all it needed, and just like crews, she thought the tree was healthy.

"It was a huge tree," she said. "It was probably over 100 years old."

Carter has lived in her house for many years, and the laurel oak tree gave her house and the yard its charm.

"It was wonderful," said Carter.

But it was also very big. She was a little nervous about it, and that's why she called the city.

"They came and they did take care of the problem, and I thought it was solved," she said.

But the tree was rotting inside, and thanks to the strong winds Tuesday the tree fell right on a car.

"We lost a fine old tree, luckily we didn't lose any lives, and everybody was safe," said Carter.

Bell said the city owns 85,000 trees, and the city's tree and park department inspects every single one of them every year.  If they're rotten inside, like that laurel oak, the only way for them to know that is to cut it open.

"The process of cutting open a tree would kill the tree," Bell said, "So, we would kill a significant number, all really, of our live and healthy trees out there."

The city said the woman can file a claim for the damage done to her car, but since they did go out and inspect it in December, and there were no other complaints made about it after that, they said it's not their fault.

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