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Tree demolishes home

Residents from Fraser Plc in Forest Lake gather around a tree which fell and crushed a home in their street during this month's fierce storm.
Residents from Fraser Plc in Forest Lake gather around a tree which fell and crushed a home in their street during this month's fierce storm. Chris Owen

WHEN Cathryn Andersen received a call saying a tree had landed on her daughter's roof, she assumed it couldn't have been anything too big.

But it was no sapling that fell onto the Forest Lake home.

Instead, severe winds and rain from last week's cyclone-strength storm had uprooted a 20m Ironbark that crushed the front section of the house.

"I only live around the corner from my daughter and her family," Mrs Andersen said.

"So when I arrived to see what had happened, I was like "oh my God"."

Mrs Andersen, the owner of the property, said her daughter's family was lucky to have escaped without injury.

"The tree fell around 4.50am, so they (her daughter's family) were all in the back bedroom sleeping," she said.

"And fortunately that was one of the only rooms that didn't get damaged."

Mrs Andersen said the fallen tree had been marked to be cut down by the council, following a petition to have it removed.

"It's had an 'R' sprayed on it for removal for about three years," she said.

Matt (last name withheld), who lives across the street from the crushed house, said he was worried other large trees in the area would fall.

"During this last storm we were up until one o'clock, standing out the front of the house, anxiously watching the trees sway back and forth," he said.

"When I awoke and heard the ground crack followed by a massive crash, I knew immediately what had happened."

The father-of-one, who has lived in Forest Lake for six years, said he was particularly worried about another large Ironbark in front of his house.

"I'm waiting for this one to go now as it's started to lean," he said.

"It's moved over since the last storm, so we've made a complaint."

Parkinson Councillor Angela Owen-Taylor said two major tree-falls had occurred in her ward as a result of the storm.

She visited the Forest Lake house last week to assess the damage and help coordinate the clean-up.

She said severe winds combined with an extensive amount of downpour that softened the ground, caused the tree to fall.

"This particularly occurs with trees that have shallow root bases," she said.

"When you have significant wind gusts, it makes it difficult for those trees to maintain their height."

Cr Owen-Taylor said if residents had voiced any concerns about the fallen tree in Forest Lake, they had not been reported to her.

"If residents are worried about the stability of a tree in the area, I encourage them to contact my office directly," she said.

"And I will lodge a request for that tree to be assessed on their behalf."

Cr Owen-Taylor said the assessment process involved a council arborist examining a designated tree to determine if it was healthy or not.

"If there is a safety issue, council takes the matter very seriously," she said.


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