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Storm: Toppled ‘tree of heaven’ causes hell for Clayhall family blocked in home

PUBLISHED: 11:38 28 October 2013 | UPDATED: 12:01 28 October 2013

The tree of heaven just missed the home in Marlands Road, Clayhall. Picture: Christina Jarvis

The tree of heaven just missed the home in Marlands Road, Clayhall. Picture: Christina Jarvis

Archant

A family had a narrow escape this morning when a 30ft tree they had asked Redbridge Council to chop down for years almost crashed into their home.

Firefighters work to clear the tree of heaven in Marlands Road so the family could get out the house. Photo: Christina JarvisFirefighters work to clear the tree of heaven in Marlands Road so the family could get out the house. Photo: Christina Jarvis

The so-called “tree of heaven” blocked the front door of the house in Marlands Road, Clayhall, when it was toppled in storm St Jude.

It had already caused years of hell for Kay and Arthur Jarvis, who said falling branches had cut telephone lines and roots and destroyed pipes and paving stones.

Mrs Jarvis said the giant tree missed their house by inches.

She added: “If it had landed over just a little bit more I don’t think I would be standing here today.

“It would have come through the house and into our bedroom – it’s our absolute worst nightmare.”

Mrs Jarvis described a loud crashing noise as winds snapped the tree’s broad trunk in half at around 6.45am.

It miraculously missed two cars in the driveway but blocked Mrs Jarvis and her daughter in the house until Hainault firefighters were called to cut it away.

Mrs Jarvis said: “The cars were scratched and I think we lost a few roof tiles but they said we were very lucky.

“It was a terrible shock. It’s just sinking in what could have happened.”

The family had been lobbying the council to get the tree felled but it was covered by a protection order.

Mrs Jarvis said: “Anyone with a grain of sense would have looked at that tree and known it should never be so close to houses or overhanging the road.”

The tree of heaven is a foreign species that can grow up to 80ft tall.

It leaks toxins into the ground to stop other plants growing an can also give off a nasty stink.

The council has been asked to comment.


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