Homeowner fears falling branches from large neighboring tree

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- A potentially deadly hazard hangs literally over the head of an Omaha homeowner, making afraid to go in her backyard or garage. The city has warned her neighbor about the worrisome dead tree, but the danger still exists.

Fearing damage from above, Armalene Kercheval doesn’t park her car in the garage.

“I’m worried about it coming through — all the way through — and hitting my car,” said the homeowner living near 28th Avenue and Pratt Street.

Falling branches from a neighbor’s tree have punctured and cracked the garage roof, which is littered with limbs of all sizes.

“I’d say about three holes,” Kercheval said.

At least 10 feet across: that’s about the size of the troublesome Cottonwood with mostly dead branches up above.

Kercheval’s grandkids aren’t allowed to play in her backyard.

“I’m worried a branch will fall and knock them in the head,” she said.

In 2015, the city sent a violation notice to the owner of the rental property next door with an order remove the cottonwood.

Gwen Brewer told 6 On Your Side that she couldn’t afford removal but spent $2,500 to have the tree trimmed four years ago — and thought that resolved the problem. 

But concerned neighbor Ron Powell sees the odds of an injury growing.

“So far, we’ve been lucky,” he said. “But we don’t want to be like shooting dice; 7-11 only going to come so much.”

The city focuses on public property trees and rarely cuts down one on private property, but the removal order sent the landlord still stands.

Kercheval wants something done “before something happens or hits one of the kids or any neighbor or anybody.”

If the falling limb hazard isn’t removed soon, Kercheval said she’ll hit the roof.

“When you look at that, it tells you that it’s very dangerous.”

The tree’s property owner tells 6 On Your Side that she is disabled and has financial problems but will try her best to come up with the money to remove the tree. That could cost $6,000 or more, so she’s hoping to find someone who can help.