He goes out on a limb to remove hazard

Published 11:05 am Friday, September 9, 2011

Windsor Tree Service employee John Bolin straddles a pine tree over the Blackwater River at Barrett’s Landing while cutting it up Thursday as co-workers Fred Deziel, at left in boat, and Brent Doughty, look on. -- JAMES ARTIS | TIDEWATER NEWS

FRANKLIN—Windsor Tree Service employee John Bolin put his chainsaw skills to the test on Thursday.

Straddled on a fallen 75- to 80-foot-long pine over the Blackwater River without a life vest, Bolin cut up the tree, which landed on a Barrett’s Landing railing during Hurricane Irene. He sawed it into pieces for removal. Co-workers Fred Deziel and Brent Doughty dragged the 20-foot sections of pine ashore with a 16-foot motorboat.

“We had to go out into the water and cut it and tow it back to the boat launch,” said Ben Wade, owner of Windsor Tree Service.

They began working on the tree’s removal at 9:30 a.m. and remained on the job as of early afternoon.

The city paid Windsor Tree Service $4,000 to remove the tree, which damaged the railing and boardwalk, said Director of Public Works Russ Pace.

Pace is not sure if insurance will cover the cost, or if the city will receive government funding for damage to public property caused by the Aug. 27 storm, which had wind gusts of up to 59 mph.

“We will try to recover it back with a reimbursement from the state,” he said.

As of Thursday, Pace did not have a damage estimate for the railing and boardwalk.

“I’m waiting for a guy to look at the boardwalk, but we had to get the tree off,” he said. “I was hoping he will look at it this afternoon or tomorrow.”

Pace was waiting for the river’s water level to go down before bringing in Windsor Tree Service. The Blackwater on Aug. 31 crested at 14.73 feet due to the 12 inches of rain dumped by Irene.