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Houses damaged as tree falls in Moruga

Sunday, June 18, 2017
A fire officer attempts to cut the trunk of the fallen Milkwood tree which damaged two houses and ripped down utility lines at Indian Walk, Moruga, yesterday.

Over 20 Indian Walk, Moruga, families were forced to squash their Father’s Day celebrations yesterday after a large tree fell, damaging two houses and a vehicle, ripping down several electricity wires and blocked off the road for several hours.

Luckily no one was injured when the milkwood tree came tumbling down around 5 am following heavy showers over the last few days, but it did cause a widespread power outage.  

However, T&TEC crews who were among several state agencies who responded quickly were able to isolate the problem to the immediate area and restore a supply of electricity to the neighbouring homes and communities.

One resident, Marva Cooper, owner of one of the damaged homes, and Moruga/Tableland MP Dr Lovell Francis both felt this incident could have been prevented if their requests for the 60-feet tall tree to be cut were not ignored. 

Recalling the traumatic events, Cooper whose house is located next to the tree along Moruga Road, said around 5 am she was jolted from her sleep by a loud crackling sound.

 “It was the most frightening sound I ever heard. Something just tell me get up and move.

When I went ran outside I saw this monster tree across the road and fire on all the  wires.”   The transformer was also ripped down.

Her GMC Envoy vehicle which was parked in the garage, her garage and the part of the roof covering her bedroom, were badly damaged.

  Neighbour Anthony Sambury, 53, who lives across the road from Cooper recalled he  too was asleep when he heard a crashing sound. “My wife bawl out something bounce the van. We thought it was an accident. When I came out I saw the tree on the roof of our house.”

The father of two said his roof was badly damaged and had already began leaking. Fire officers assisted in covering the roof was a tarpaulin to provide temporary relief.

Sambury’s concrete wall in front his house was also partially destroyed.  “Our Father’s Day plans will have to be postponed,” said Sambury, who also lives with his 82-year-old blind father Irvin.

Both Cooper and Sambury said they would be seeking compensation from the state.

    Relieved that no one was injured or there was no devastating damage, Lovell said, “I am annoyed because I made a request to have the tree cut over a year ago. The MP said he made the request to the Princes Town Regional Corporation (PTRC), the Ministry of Works and the Ministry of Agriculture. However, he was told they did not have a hiab crane with the proper specs for the job.

Lovell, however, was equally annoyed that the police ignored his requests for help.

“I called them several times. We got no assistance from the police,” he complained.

     Cooper also complained that for the past two years she has been trying to get various agencies, including the Environment Management Authority (EMA) and the Corporation to cut the tree. “If something was done before I don’t think this disaster would have happened.”

With the assistance of Minister of Works employee Victor Brown, firefighters from the Mon Repos and Princes Town Fire Station were able to cut up tree and the Corporation’s backhoe and trucks were used to remove the pieces and clear the roadway by 1.30 pm. 

Also lending assistance were the Corporation’s disaster management unit and  councillor Haniff Salamat. Up to yesterday evening  T&TEC workers were working feverishly to have the power supply restored by yesterday evening. 


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