Rotting tree causing serious concern in Indy neighborhood

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Once it was a beautiful part of the landscape of an Indianapolis home.  Now, neighbors fear the tree could fall causing serious damage or injuries.   But getting it cut down has been a two year ordeal that isn’t over yet.

“It’s all rotten.   It’s marked red.  It’s rotten.  You can stick your hand way up in there,” says John Lett as he scraps the inside of a tree through a hole in the trunk.

The tree sits on the edge of a street in front of a home at the corner of Orange Street and South Alabama Street on the near south side of Indianapolis.  It was once towering and majestic.  But now it’s dead and rotting and neighbors fear ready to fall at any moment.

“My room’s here.  And I have a five-year-old baby.  And a one-year-old in the room upstairs.  All it takes is one thunderstorm and it can fall over,” says Kelly Kirkpatrick as she points to her bedroom which is in direct line of the tree should it fall.

The key question for this tree or any in a homeowners yard, is whether or not it sits on private or city property.  The Department of Public Works division of urban forestry is the city agency that handles potentially dangerous trees on public right of way. If it’s on private property its the property owners problem. Kelly Kirkpatrick who is a tenant in the home says they were told, two-years-ago it is on city property.

“Yea, they came out the summer of 2012 and topped it off.  And said we’ll be back in a week to finish it off and they still haven’t came back out,” she says.

When looking closely at the tree it appears a red marking is on it and that would indicate the tree is to be cut down.  But it’s fading and nothing’s been done.

“We’ve made multiple calls and told them what was going on and we were told they ‘d send somebody out and we still haven’t seen anybody,” says Kirkpatrick.

So residents wait.

“Hopefully they can cut it down.  I’m just scared it’s either going to fall in the house with a thunderstorm or one of these kids is going to get hurt,” says Kirkpatrick.

24-Hour News 8 contacted the Department of Public Works.  They promised to find out what’s going on and let us know.  We’re still waiting to hear back from them. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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