JACKSONVILLE, Ala. (AP) -- A 75-year-old old pecan tree at the center of a protest and court battle to keep it from being cut down by Alabama Power Co. fell during heavy rain from Tropical Depression Fay. Resident Barbara Wilson and a neighbor, Rufus Kinney, had chained themselves to trees on two separate days last year to protest Alabama Power plans to cut down three pecan trees and a cherry tree.
A judge ruled last March that Alabama Power could trim the trees but not cut them down. The tree was uprooted as Fay's rain soaked the area. It came to rest Monday night on Wilson's front porch. As it fell, limbs caught on a power line, keeping it from completely falling onto Wilson's house.
'"This has been our fear all along," utility spokeswoman Gina Warren said. "The driving force for us has been safety for our customers and workers." Alabama Power disagreed with the March ruling but decided not to appeal. The company said its objective in trimming or cutting down trees is to prevent power lines from being brought down by them in storms.
Wilson said power company crews had recently trimmed the tree, but they only cut the limbs on the street side, leaving the side facing her house heavy with limbs. "We knew it was going to do this; it was just a matter of when," she told The Anniston Star. Wilson said she had planned to prune the tree when the pecans matured.
"Now I hope they're satisfied," she said. She said Tuesday she plans to contact the power company after talking to her lawyer. Power on much of the block around the house had to be cut off so workers could repair the lines Monday night.
The crew was able to restore power to all those affected, Warren said Tuesday.