The first in yet another series of storms is rolling through Burbank this evening, increasing the concerns that more trees will topple. Several trees were knocked down by last weekend’s treacherous storm, one of the casualties, a graceful giant at Third Street and Bethany Road.
The building manager, Ben Cantu, says the huge stone pine took the fall at about 4:45 p.m., last Sunday, March 20. Cantu believes the storm was only partly to blame: “… one of the most beautiful trees in Burbank fell victim to high winds and top heavy growth.”
Cantu, whose first floor balcony was damaged, says that when the tree smashed into the Bethany Towers: “It shook the entire building so much that tenants believed that an earthquake had occurred.” One apartment dweller, Tammy Folkes, reportedly called a friend across town to see if “she had felt the quake.”
Tenant, Dean Benavidez, got whacked twice by the fallen tree. It crushed his truck. Benavidez reportedly was “mostly upset that he had just bought new tires for his work truck.” Also, the toppled tree cracked one of the windows in Benavidez’s apartment — that was the easiest repair job of several that needed to be done.
On Monday, forestry crews removed most of that huge tree from the street. Tuesday, a construction crew began the clean-up and repair work on the damaged apartment balcony.
Also, on Tuesday afternoon gas company workers came by to fix a leak — also, blamed on the collapsed tree. Cantu says the Burbank Fire Department turned off the gas to the line linked to the stoves in the apartment building on Sunday. So for two days, tenants were not able to cook in their units.
Traffic is back to normal along that section of Bethany Road, between Glenoaks Boulevard and Third Street. There will most likely be some delays later on when the big tree stump is removed. Jan Bartolo of Park, Recreation and Community Services, says that will probably happen sometime in the next month.
Bartolo explained the stone pine that collapsed “… was an older tree, however the severity of the storm played an important role in its failure.” Should residents be concerned about the other giant trees in that section of Bethany Road? Bartolo says the city is keeping a close watch on those trees: “While it is impossible to predict tree failures, we have taken every necessary precaution with our Certified Arborist inspections performed on the trees since the storm to assess their current condition. At this time, our arborists feel that the trees are in stable condition with a good root structure and at this time no expectation of any other failures are anticipated.”