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Old 09-05-2011, 03:55 PM   #1
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Ordinarily, we don't use the service entrance wire to try to hold up a tree...


So, a couple weeks ago the power company finally moved my service entrance to my new mast. Saturday night a tree fell on the service entrance wire, but I didn't notice until I looked out the window Sunday morning. Power was not disconnected, I'm guessing that since the service drop came across from the between the middle of 2 poles that gave the wires enough slack.

The PoCo hasn't come out yet to get the tree off the wire, I'm guessing that since we don't have arcing or a power outage that we're lower priority than people that have worse problems.

Generally speaking, the tree missed most other major things. The playset will need some minor work, the insulator in the weatherhead was broken, but the tree didn't hit the house at all and there might be a couple torn shingles on the garage.
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Old 09-05-2011, 04:31 PM   #2
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Ordinarily, we don't use the service entrance wire to try to hold up a tree...


I'd stay on top of following up with the POCO. Even in a stable position, no tree guy is going to want to touch that until the tree is off the wire. Shucks, just tell the POCO that your power is flickering and they need to check the connection.

Silver maple?

So glad we have a buried supply line.

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Old 09-05-2011, 04:49 PM   #3
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Ordinarily, we don't use the service entrance wire to try to hold up a tree...


It was a silver maple, yep. It looks like the branch itself where it broke wasn't rotten inside, just at the crotch.

The online system for checking on the status of the PoCo restoration says they have no estimate, this morning it said there were 2000 customers out in my area and now it says 5000, it says out of 100,000 outages in the metro Detroit area they've restored 75,000. Interestingly enough, their map shows that I'm within an area outage affecting 864 customers but my power isn't out.

I've been clearing away smaller branches where they aren't part of the support for the remaining branches. There are two branches directly in contact with the neutral, so the way it looks, if either one of those branches were to break or be cut, the line would rise up towards the next set of branches. While doing so, it would slide along the other branch it is in contact with. This could potentially damage insulation on the wire, and at that point there would be the potential for an electrical event.

The tree is actually very stable, it's supported at 2 points widely spaced apart on the driveway, but I can also see that once the supporting branches start getting cut there will be a lot of rolling tree to be managed.

Having made that observation, I decided to not contemplate any further the idea of clearing the tree myself. I did however get the garage door clear enough to access the garage, most of my projects depend on materials stored in the garage.

Another side note, this reinforces my decision to keep my third Mercury at my parents house until they sell. Inside I have a '55 Mercury Station Wagon and a '55 Mercury Sun Valley, my parents had been trying to get me to move my '56 Mercury Monterey from their house, and if I had done so it would've been under that tree.
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Last edited by WillK; 09-05-2011 at 04:53 PM.
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Old 09-05-2011, 06:27 PM   #4
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Ordinarily, we don't use the service entrance wire to try to hold up a tree...


Quote:
Originally Posted by WillK View Post
It was a silver maple, yep. It looks like the branch itself where it broke wasn't rotten inside, just at the crotch.
That'll happen.

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The online system for checking on the status of the PoCo restoration says they have no estimate, this morning it said there were 2000 customers out in my area and now it says 5000, it says out of 100,000 outages in the metro Detroit area they've restored 75,000. Interestingly enough, their map shows that I'm within an area outage affecting 864 customers but my power isn't out.
Keep calling and it's a good decision to stay hands off at this point.

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Another side note, this reinforces my decision to keep my third Mercury at my parents house until they sell. Inside I have a '55 Mercury Station Wagon and a '55 Mercury Sun Valley, my parents had been trying to get me to move my '56 Mercury Monterey from their house, and if I had done so it would've been under that tree.
Good thing Merc wasn't under there.. My husband's 1994 RX-7 ended up under several branches off our ash tree* then they proceeded to shift and blow around enough all night to scratch the bejezus out of one side of his original Montego Blue paint job.



*On an unrelated rant: I have five Emeral Ash Trees (two big 'uns) and I hate them. They drop branches all year long for no reason at all, they drop those darn pin-sharp seeds EVERYWHERE and the break if you look at them sideways.
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Old 09-05-2011, 06:29 PM   #5
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Ordinarily, we don't use the service entrance wire to try to hold up a tree...


I've also heard that response time here is delayed because of shorthandedness resulting from sending crews to help with the damage from Huricane Irene.
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Old 09-05-2011, 08:09 PM   #6
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Ordinarily, we don't use the service entrance wire to try to hold up a tree...


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I've also heard that response time here is delayed because of shorthandedness resulting from sending crews to help with the damage from Huricane Irene.
If it weren't for the outside help, power wouldn't have been restored around here for 10 days as opposed to 5.
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Old 09-06-2011, 05:43 PM   #7
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Ordinarily, we don't use the service entrance wire to try to hold up a tree...


UPDATE:

I had not thought of fixing it the way that they did, but it turns out here's what they did:

Cut the drop, ran it over the fallen tree, reconnected it, done.

So now it's a DIY job, I don't have money for my $1000 deductible.

I am going to hold my PoCo's feet to the fire though, there's some sort of support wire missing because the clearance to my garage is down to 18" or so.
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Old 09-11-2011, 12:07 AM   #8
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Ordinarily, we don't use the service entrance wire to try to hold up a tree...


Further update.

I'm attaching 2 photos, the first shows the tree still on top of the playset, the photo was taken on September 5th.

Today we had an unsolicited offer to remove the tree for $700 if it could be done today since the guy was working in the area on a tree the next street over. Also we had a quote from someone we asked to quote.

So basicly I've been working through smaller branches where I've had the time. Whatever I could cut with a loper, and a few things I've been able to cut with a circular saw. This evening, my neighbor loaned me a sawzall and a pole saw.

So to set this up, the tree fell where it split off to two different directions, the other branch is still standing. The part that fell branched out 3 different branches about 3' above where it split when it fell off the tree, each of these around 10" thick. 2 of these branches go down and support the tree from the ground. In the first of the pictures on this post, I've added a red line showing where one of these branches is cracked at the base where it attaches to the other 2 branches.

The third branch was going up into the air, and from that some smaller branches were in contact with the garage but did not seem to be under load.

So this evening, as I'm cutting some of these branches in contact with my garage, my strategy is that I want to get this third branch cut off from the tree working from the end and working down, the idea being that I want to remove any weight that isn't part of the trees support system.

When I started using the pole saw, however, I found that I was introducing much larger vibrations, and I started hearing crack sounds here and there. So when I reached a point where I had cut off a branch, I decided to pause and look at the situation.

I noticed the tree slowly moving, then cracking and the crack gave way and the upper branch rotated down towards the house. The playset beam broke under the impact and the whole tree came down.

So the second pic shows the tree after that happenned. In retrospect, this is probably the best outcome for cutting up the fallen portion as DIY. Now everything is reachable without the use of a ladder.

The playset only will take 2 2x6-12' boards for the beam and 2 4x4-8' posts. It almost would've cost more to rent a step ladder tall enough to reach the branches I need to cut.

ETA had trouble uploading first pic, falling asleep, I'll be badk
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Old 09-11-2011, 06:24 AM   #9
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Ordinarily, we don't use the service entrance wire to try to hold up a tree...


You kind of got lucky there----It missed anything expensive .

If you decide to use a chain saw for the first time buy yourself a a pair of chaps--

Those are chain saw proof pants--Just a suggestion---Call me the guy with the scar on my knee cap--Mike--
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Old 09-11-2011, 09:40 AM   #10
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Ordinarily, we don't use the service entrance wire to try to hold up a tree...


Yeah, everything did really work out well as far as how the tree fell and how it broke. The pictures I have posted don't really give a good enough angle to see, but with the initial fall the majority of the weight hit the swing right where it was strongest - above the 4x4 a-frame. The support system really worked well to hold the tree up, had it fallen further that might have caused some real damage to the incoming power, possibly leaving a live broken electrical wire over the garage.

I started working throrugh clearing smaller branches, we can leave out whatever we can fit at the curb, it just needs to be bundled in lengths less than 4' long and less than 40 lbs in weight. While working, I've had the Monty Python song in my head "I'm a lumberjack and I'm OK"

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Last edited by WillK; 09-11-2011 at 10:15 AM.
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