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Giant Tree Falls In Pulaski Park, Smashes Cars And Takes Down Light Pole

By Alisa Hauser | May 18, 2017 9:44am
 A massive locust tree fell in Pulaski Park and damaged two cars and a light pole.
Locust Falls in Pulaski Park
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NOBLE SQUARE — Just before midnight on Thursday, forceful winds caused a giant locust tree to fall over the width of an entire street — damaging at least four parked cars and taking down a street pole.

Natalie Konieczko, who lives in the 1300 block of North Cleaver Street where the tree fell, said it sounded "like a car wreck." 

She had heard yelling and found a couple who had been getting out of an Uber when the tree fell, she said.

Around 7 a.m. Thursday, a worker for the city Department of Streets and Sanitation was using a chainsaw to cut up the tree, which had been fully uprooted from the ground. The worker said he had been working at the site since 3 a.m.

The worker estimated that the tree was about 80 foot tall.

Sara McGann, a spokeswoman for the Streets and Sanitation, said that as of 8 a.m. Monday, the city had received 336 emergency calls related to trees, and 234 of those had been addressed. "Crews are working diligently" to address the remaining 102 "open emergencies" at various spots across the city, she said.

She added, "Please keep in mind that tree emergencies does not necessarily mean a down tree/tree removal —  it includes fallen limbs  — so this number does not translate to 336 tree removals."

Part of a long row of locust trees along the perimeter of the iconic Pulaski Park field house, which faces a residential street, the fallen tree was planted in the mid-1970s, Konieczko recalled.

"I climbed it many a time," she said.

A Chevy Cruze saw its back end and rear window smashed by the tree, while a Honda Civic lost its back window from the impact of the downed light pole. Konieczko provided photos of two other parked cars that appeared to have dented roofs, too.

"I do love the tree, however, I feel bad that this happened to all those cars as well! I'm grateful that no person was injured coming home. I wish we had better arborists in the Park District that would look at these trees and see if they have potential to fall," Konieczko said.

Konieczko said the police and Streets and Sanitation responded promptly and did "a great job."


Cut up tree limbs awaiting removal. [Photo by DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser] 

Tree limbs awaiting removal on the sidewalk.

Around 6:45 a.m., police add an extra line of caution tape to prevent cars from entering the block.


Locust tree in Pulaski Park among wind casualties last night :(

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Elsewhere in the area, other trees appeared to have suffered from the force of the wind. In the 800 block of North Wolcott in West Town's East Village, a large parkway tree was bent over the street.