Some highlights of the incident:
- The top of the tree came down on the right third of our roof. Branches went through the roof in to the attic and a large branch went through the wall in to our bedroom. There were no broken windows, surprisingly. The tree has done a lot of damage to the roof, siding, and gutters.
- The trunk feel basically right next to the house and when it came down, it pulled the rest of the tree off the roof. It also took our our fiber line and electric service.
- The tree was a very old city owned tree. A maple, I think. It had been significantly trimmed over the years and was also rotten in the middle.
- Power was out for 4 days and Internet service was out for 5 days. The electric service damage was on the customer side and I had to get our electrician to repair our service drop. The hard part was getting National Grid to reconnect service.
While we had no power, we could not run the oil burner so we had no heat. We ended up staying at a hotel. This was frustrating because it was difficult to determine how long we needed to plan to be in the hotel. The insurance company was willing to pay but they wanted to know how many days. The power company would not give a restore estimate either.
We have a lot of public shade trees on our street. In Massachusetts, public shade trees are owned by the city or town you live in and are the responsibility of the municipality. By law, every municipality must have a full time tree warden who must meet certain qualifications and maintain the trees (why they don't call this position the lorax is beyond me). Because of this, private citizens are not permitted to do any tree trimming or removal. This makes sense to me because (a) the trees are not on your property and (b) proper trimming and removal in a dense environment requires skills that the average person with a chainsaw won't have.
We have two more city trees that overhang our property, so I have asked the tree warden to inspect these for either trimming or removal. You usually don't have to ask, but since there are a lot of trees and only one person checking them out they sort of wait for trees to present major hazards before doing anything about them.
In case something like this happens again, I have ordered a backup generator and am having a transfer switch installed to run a subset of critical house things.