In the wake of Hurricane Irene, there were many reports of fallen trees and branches throughout Millburn Township.
Residents at Undercliff and South Mountain roads in the South Mountain area had an especially rude awakening, some literally, when large trees and branches in their neighborhood tilted over or broke off and damaged their homes and took down power lines.
Cliff Chu said he was sleeping in the basement of his South Mountain Road home with his wife and 11-month-old son at around 4:30 a.m. Sunday morning when a loud crash shook the entire house. A large, heavy oak tree on a grassy easement in front of his house fell over and collapsed, puncturing his roof.
After the tree collapsed, he and his family evacuated the house, which they had only moved into about a month ago. After a stressful period trying to find shelter, they finally stayed with neighbors.
A walk around the fallen tree Monday afternoon revealed that the specimen had a shallow root system, which had left behind a pool of greenish water where it once stood.
Chu blamed the tree's structure and the torrent of rain unleashed for the collapse. The tree was uneven due to the street side being pruned while the other side facing his home was not, he said.
"The tree is naturally weighted to the house," he said.
Chu was surveying the damage and hoping some tree cutters who were working nearby would come and get rid of the tree.
"We were upset for the first couple of hours but we got to get this done," he said.
A tour of his house revealed signs of water leaks that rippled the walls and a quick look in the attic showed a bowed roof and tree branches that punched their way inside.
"Whether it's an earthquake or a tree, two in the same week is two too man," he quipped, referring to the earthquake about a week ago that shook the East Coast.
Chu's neighbor, Jude Huang, who also lives on South Mountain Road, saw a tree strike his home around 2 p.m. Sunday. Some of the branches actually tore through the roof and found their way into the closets inside.
On Monday, he had workers with a crane remove the tree. Other residents had the same service done.
While firemen were assisting the residents at a home on Undercliff Road, a tree fell, just barely missing the firetruck, but taking down power lines in the area and causing a blackout.
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