Family frustrated after city-owned trees repeatedly fall on property, bring down power lines

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - A family on the northeast is dealing with a mess on their property. They say city-owned trees keep falling onto their power lines and backyard. Each time, the family of five is left without power or electricity for days. Despite contacting the city, nothing has been done to fix the situation.

Cassie Evans and her husband bought a home in April 2016 and thought they had found the perfect place for their young family. But now, all they in their backyard is frustration.

"This beautiful wooded area that’s so hard to find in the city has just rained down on us and cost us more expense than it’s been worth honestly," said Cassie Evans.

Branches and even large tree logs litter their property.

"At this point, I can’t let my kids come out here and play," Evans said. "It’s not safe.  There’s holes in the ground."

The problem trees are coming from the plot next to theirs. The neighboring plot is owned by the city of Indianapolis. So, the Evans' ability to get the dead trees removed is limited.

"We’re not allowed to do anything with the tree but as soon as it falls on our yard, it’s our responsibility," Evans said. "And,  we’re the ones left with cleaning this up."

The latest incident happened over the weekend. A tree fell and brought down the power lines.

"They snap, they cause a big spark, the lines from my house are disconnected," Evans said. "Terrifies my children. I'm really forced out of my home at that point with no water, no electricity and very young children. What am I supposed to do?"

Cassie said she contacted the Mayor's Action Line in January. She's also had to call Indianapolis Power and Light multiple times to get them to repair the power lines and restore power. Still, she has been given no long-term solution.

"I can sue the city or wait a year and call back," Evans said. "Only options I have."

In the meantime, their damages are adding up. Evans said they already had to replace their roof. Plus, they're forced to throw away hundreds of dollars worth of food each time they lose power.

"We just want the incidents to stop happening," Evans said. "If they can decide what’s dead and remove those then we should have no further problems."

CBS4 reached out to the City of Indianapolis about this. A spokesperson for the Department of Public Works said:

  • The request made in January, was prioritized based on the comments in the MAC request. Since the trees in the lot are mostly located away from the property in a lot, this was taken into account.
  • Our inspectors prioritize tree maintenance based on more than a tree’s health. We take a look at where the tree is located and also pedestrian and motorist safety, so a tree obstructing view of oncoming traffic, traffic signage, detached limbs hanging over a road are included in our inspections.

The spokesperson also said any damage caused by these trees is handled by a different city office and the property owners would have to file a claim.

Indianapolis Power and Light said the family can get in contact with their tree trimming division for help. We will keep you updated on any developments.

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