Uprooted trees damage Rutland homes, apartments
By Brent Curtis
staff writer | July 05,2014
Dave Preedom and his family’s plans for a trip to the beach on the Fourth of July were toppled Thursday night by a storm that demolished the porch, chimney and part of the roof of his Rutland rental property.
“The only silver lining is that if this was new construction the whole thing would be on the ground,” the New York man said regarding the 100-year-old two-story house he owns at 188 Lincoln Ave.
The venerable structure took a direct hit Thursday night from a century-old maple that stood in front of it until ferocious storm-driven winds ripped its roots from the ground.
“I remember tapping this tree as a kid,” Preedom said, eyeing scars still visible in the tree’s stump, which was all that remained by Friday afternoon.
No one was hurt when the tree came down, although Preedom said his tenants, who were in the front room at the time, were terrified when the porch came down just feet from where they were sitting.
“I don’t know how hard the wind was blowing, but it had to be more than 70 mph,” Preedom said. “This tree was leaning in the other direction and it literally was blown backward into the house by the force of the wind.”
Devastation was a common site in Rutland on Independence Day, with uprooted trees, downed branches and wind-blown debris on virtually every street.
Power outages numbered in the hundreds in Rutland at the peak of the storm, when Green Mountain Power listed more than 20,000 customers without electricity in the region.
But by Friday afternoon, only 11 homes were left without electricity in Rutland and by 7 p.m., only one customer in the city was still without power, according to GMP.
At the corner of East Washington and Nickwackett streets, tree crews spent most of the day cutting away a tree that draped itself across a two-story apartment building.
Aaron Tinsman, owner of Pro Axis Building and Restoration, said Friday afternoon the damage wouldn’t keep tenants out of their homes for long.
“They should be back in there tonight,” he said. “We’re going to tarp the roof, but it’s not leaking. At this point, I don’t believe we’re going to have a problem getting people back in there.”
Robert Perry’s 82-year-old mother wasn’t so lucky.
Elaine Perry was sitting in her home on Adams Street when she thought she heard water running in the basement.
Going to investigate, she found the entire east wall of her foundation had washed away, moving her washer and dryer across the basement and filling her hot water heater and other pipes with surging flood water and mud.
“I couldn’t believe there could be such force from ground water,” Robert Perry said Friday. “It looked like the wall blew right in.”
Perry said his mother is staying at his Rutland home until the damage is fixed.
Elaine Perry wasn’t the only one displaced from her home by the storm.
The American Red Cross reported Friday that a family of four was receiving shelter after a fallen tree forced them from their home. The unnamed family was sheltered at a local motel, the Red Cross said.