Hurricane

Hilton Head family: Threat posed by soon-to-fall tree ignored

Days after Matthew passes by, tree falls on home outside Indigo Run

The Aiken family, who lives just outside Indigo Run on Hilton Head Island, contacted the private community to tell management a tree close to their property was leaning dangerously. That tree later fell, landing on the Aikens' roof.
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The Aiken family, who lives just outside Indigo Run on Hilton Head Island, contacted the private community to tell management a tree close to their property was leaning dangerously. That tree later fell, landing on the Aikens' roof.

The Aikens knew the tree on the other side of the fence was going to fall.

They could tell by the way it was leaning.

Sure enough, it fell Tuesday, landing right on the roof of the carport next to their Hilton Head Island home.

All of that could have been avoided, the Aikens say.

The tree sat across a chain-link fence separating their home from the private Indigo Run community.

Tommy Aiken, a native islander, said he reached out to the community’s management last week when he returned home after evacuating ahead of Hurricane Matthew.

The tree — destabilized by the storm’s high winds — “was a danger to home and my family,” but Aiken said he “was treated kind of nasty” when he informed the folks across the fence.

Aiken’s wife Betty said, “This didn’t even have to happen, if only (Indigo Run) could have just sent a couple of guys out to cut the tree down before it fell.”

Indigo Run general manager Chip Munday said earlier this week, “If a tree falls as a result of an act of nature, generally there is no liability (for the private community).”

“Wherever (the tree) lands, it’s that property owner’s responsibility to remove it if they so choose,” he said.

Betty Aiken said that policy “doesn’t seem fair.”

Apparently someone inside Indigo Run agreed.

Tommy Aiken said when he got home from work Thursday afternoon, the tree had been removed from his roof.

“I’m not quite sure who took it down,” he said. “But I’m glad it is gone.”

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