Woman says damage from fallen tree could have been prevented

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MOLINE, Illinois-- A Moline woman has a lot to clean up after a dead tree fell on her home Wednesday night.

Rachel Budde said she was enjoying an evening with her fiancé when they heard a loud crash.

"We both jumped up and knew what it was as soon as we heard it," she said.

A dead tree from across the street had toppled over. But she said she's been waiting for this day since she moved into her rental on 27th Street in 2016.

"It wasn't a matter of 'if' it was going to happen," Budde said. "It was a matter of when."

Budde said she had notified her landlord that the dead tree needed to be removed. But there was a problem.

"He has attempted with the neighbors in this area to determine whose tree it was so that someone would be responsible for cutting it down," Budde said.

One neighbor said she and the other property owners were unsure of where the property line fell. None of them were able to prove for sure whose land the tree stood on. She said if she had known for sure it was on her land, she would have had it taken down.

"I'm extremely frustrated that it wasn't taken care of," Budde said. "A simple amount of prevention would make sure this didn't happen."

Budde said she's glad no one was hurt. The tree fell just a few feet away from one of her children's bedrooms where they were fast asleep at the time.

"My children sleep on that side of the house," she said. "One of my children's rooms is on that side of the house. Thankfully, the room that was damaged is a spare bedroom."

Budde is now dealing with roof and gutter damage. She thinks her kitchen and a spare bedroom would've come toppling down if the garage those rooms stand on had not been reinforced with steel beams last fall.  

Budde said her landlord is hiring a company to remove the tree. She said there's perhaps one good thing to come out of this.

"We've got lots of firewood. That we'll be able to use after this. That's my silver lining," she said.

An insurance company explained that, typically, when a dead or sick tree falls onto a neighbor's property, the owner of the land the tree stood on is responsible for the damages. The representative said it's a gray area when a healthy tree falls. Either person could be responsible for covering the damages.

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