Firefighter hears report of downed tree -- his father's No one hurt

shed, house damaged HARFORD COUNTY

March 07, 1993|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,Staff Writer

Bel Air firefighter-paramedic Tom Schaech was five miles up U.S. 1 in Hickory when the emergency scanner squawked during Thursday afternoon's heavy wind and rain storm.

"Tree down . . . House struck . . . Live wires on the ground."

The location -- 133 N. Lynbrook Road -- grabbed his attention and sent him running. That was his father's house.

"I was at the nursing home, visiting my wife when my son [Tom] came to pick me up," said Joseph F. Schaech, 74. "It would have been fun to see him coming down the road to see if I was OK."

Mr. Schaech was, but the 6-foot diameter tree standing 200 feet high made quick work of a storage shed, ripped the siding off the house and punctured a hole in the roof of the house.

"I had a tractor, three lawn mowers and a tiller in that shed, and they're flattened," said the elder Mr. Schaech, who retired in 1981 after 36 years as a telephone line repairman. "It's lucky the tree missed most of the house by about four inches or we would have lost the kitchen and patio."

Mr. Schaech remembers the aftermath of hurricanes Hazel in 1954 and Agnes in 1972, but said he can't recall ever seeing a tree of such size downed by a storm.

And he couldn't begin to assess the amount of damage.

A contractor said Friday that it would cost about $1,000 to repair the siding.

A tree surgeon began trimming the smaller limbs, but had to wait on gas and electric workers to remove downed power lines to complete the job.

An insurance adjuster promised to stop by tomorrow to survey the damage. "I have no idea what it all will cost," said Mr. Schaech. "I do know that tree has been an accident waiting to happen, but BG&E came out to look at it a few times, trimmed it and kept telling me the tree was strong and no threat."

He'd like for the company's workers to see it now.

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