Burlington cleans up huge trees, branches after storm

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Cleanup continued Friday night in Burlington, Iowa, where massive trees still rested on houses and blocked roads after Thursday afternoon storms.

Near the corner of Louisa and South 10th Street, the Plath family came home to find a large evergreen tree had fallen on the back of their house.

"We tell our 3-year-old, 'You're living in a tree house for a little while,'" said Kara Plath.

The damage was mostly external and included leaking porch doors, fallen gutters, missing shingles, a shifted deck, and a smashed railing and fence. It was all caused by 81 mile per hour winds that whipped through the city Thursday around 4 p.m.

"I knew the tree was really big, but I didn't realize it was that big, and it came out by the roots. I drove in coming from Fort Madison, so I got to see everybody else and their damage, so we were pretty lucky," said Plath.

Similar scenes could be found across Burlington Friday, as power crews, chippers and chainsaws worked to clean up the mess.

At the corner of Amelia Street and Garfield Avenue, a huge oak still blocked the road from access.

"I was calling up to the kids, and I looked out the front door and watched the tree go over right in front of the house," said Brad Cranston. "It gets the tree down safely, so that's a good thing. It evidently needed to come down."

Despite some long days of cleanup ahead, though, these homeowners said they are counting their blessings.

"Everybody's okay and safe, and that's what's most important," said Plath.

In a notice on its website, the city said it expects to complete pick-up of tree branches in four weeks time. The Burlington landfill will be accepting any tree and limb debris from residents free of charge.