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Large tree hovers over Queen Street

June 03, 2002|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - With a large crack showing at the base, it seemed the 80-foot tree on Robert Boege's front yard was ready to create damage.

When a breeze kicked up Sunday afternoon, the tree made cracking sounds.

Boege, who lives at 517 S. Queen St., said he believes the tree, roughly three feet in diameter at the base, was weakened when strong winds passed through the area on May 14. Boege pointed out several other trees on his property that sustained damage during the high winds.

A neighbor first noticed the large crack in the big tree on Sunday and told Boege, who called the police.

The police wanted a tree expert to come out, Boege said.

The expert said the tree's days are numbered.

"They said it could be minutes, it could be hours. But it's coming down," said Boege.

To protect anyone from possibly being hit by the tree, Martinsburg Police closed off a block of South Queen Street in front of Boege's house, Boege said.

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Boege said he called a tree-trimming business to talk to them about removing the tree, and the earliest its employees can begin cutting it down was 7 a.m. today, Boege said.

Several neighbors and onlookers stopped by Boege's house Sunday afternoon to look at the towering tree, leaning slightly toward Queen Street and hovering near a large group of Verizon phone lines.

Boege said he tried to call Verizon to warn them about the leaning tree, but could not get in touch with anyone.

A police dispatcher said late Sunday that she assumed it was still standing.

"I haven't heard any calls of people's cars getting smashed, so I guess so," she said.

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