After years of warning to the city, tree destroys Pekin home

Published: Apr. 21, 2023 at 9:43 PM CDT
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PEKIN (25News Now) - A massive tree came down on a Pekin home Thursday during severe weather. The man that lives there says he’s tried for years to get the city to remove the tree on city property.

″Flipped my life upside down, I don’t even know what to do at this point,” said Joe Hamblin, the renter of the Pekin home.

Joe Hamblin has rented this home from Scott Lockhart on Caroline Street for 5 years, and from very early on he’s thought the tree was going to cause trouble.

″I had limbs falling on the roof, I had to patch my roof a couple times. Then I noticed how dead it was,” said Hamblin.

Hamblin asked the city to remove the tree, which is on city property, by phone and email. He says he’s been ignored.

“You can’t get through to anybody,” said Hamblin.

He’s feared for his daughter to play outside.

″I didn’t want my daughter playing out here riding on her bike, because I was always worried about a limb coming down”.

The city came out a few times, only to remove dead limbs. Hamblin tells us they were finally going to remove the tree, but then they removed the wrong one.

″I was stunned when I came home. Yeah, I sent them pictures and everything of the tree. Which side of the house it was on, leaning over the house. I don’t know why they chose to cut that one down and not this one.”

Scott Lockhart has owned this home for almost 18 years, and remembers this being a problem 15 years ago. His insurance agent told him to let the city know he was documenting everything.

“When I called and left a message that I am documenting when I call, they were out the next day,” said Lockhart.

Lockhart says he even tried reporting the issue to the city as a trip hazard.

“When the trees would sway in a storm, the concrete pads would raise and lower. So they came out and took up the concrete pad, ground off the roots, and then replace the concrete pad to make it level. But nothing was done with the tree,” said Lockhart.

No one is allowed inside the home as it was deemed structurally too dangerous, so Hamblin is unable to recover his or his daughter’s things. Now, Hamblin lost his housing, and Lockhart is left with a partially destroyed house.