Trees are still down and need cleaning up after strong storms hit the Northern Estates neighborhood in Springfield over the weekend. Katherine Collins/Staff

Springfield warns neighbors to be wary of unlicensed tree workers

Springfield leaders have warned residents to look out for unlicensed tree workers after weekend storms caused damage in local neighborhoods.

Early morning storms tore down trees and damaged roofs in the Northern Estates neighborhood on Saturday. A 52-year-old tree in Xena Haley’s front yard had limbs thrown from it. It had to be torn down immediately because it was a hazard, Haley said.

“My tree had full branches hanging down off my tree, big branches,” she said.

READ MORE: Wind, storms damage north Springfield neighborhoods

But she didn’t want to hire just anyone to do the job, she said. She made sure the company was licensed.

“Plus they’re recommended by the Better Business Bureau,” she said.

That was the right choice, according to the city of Springfield’s Facebook page.

A post after the storm read, “Be sure to verify that your contractor is properly licensed and insured.”

Residents should call the city’s service center at 937-525-5800 to confirm that the tree company is licensed, according to a newsletter posted by the city.

Tree workers have to take a written exam and have proof of at least $200,000 in insurance to obtain a license.

Haley said she’s been taken advantage of before and she won’t make that mistake again. She hired someone to replace her siding and it took three years to be completed, she said.

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“Watch what you do, who you hire to have things cleaned up, because you never know,” Haley said.

Unlicensed tree workers have been in the neighborhood since the storm, Miriam Mays said. She takes care of her grandchildren at their home in Northern Estates.

Branches and debris fell from a tree in the backyard of the home, Mays said, but it hasn’t been cleaned up yet because her daughter-in-law is working with their insurance company to find the right business.

“Yesterday I sat out here and a truck just pulled up and they brought out two chainsaws … They were absolutely not a company,” Mays said. “It was just two guys.”

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She knows people can get hit financially if tree workers aren’t insured.

“If somebody is on your property and they get hurt, and they’re not licensed and bonded, you’re getting sued,” she said.

While it may be cheaper to hire unlicensed workers, she said it’s just not worth the risk.

“Personally I wouldn’t want to take that responsibility,” she said.

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