HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — A massive tree in Midtown Harrisburg is coming down Monday. The city said it is causing major safety concerns, but the removal is going to cause some headaches for neighbors in the area, including power outages.
PPL said the company expects power outages to start Monday at 10 am. and continue into Tuesday afternoon. PPL estimates almost 56 people will be affected.
“We’re going to have to turn off their power,” PPL regional affairs director Maggie Sheely said.
Get daily news, weather, breaking news and alerts straight to your inbox! Sign up for the abc27 newsletters here.
The 80-year-old tree in the backyards of several Midtown residents has grown too big and it needs to come down for everyone’s safety.
“There are a few branches that are on top of wires,” Sheely said.
abc27 asked PPL and the City of Harrisburg, which are working together to remove the tree, why the decision was made now.
“This tree could fall at any moment,” Sheely said, adding the problem got worse faster than they expected.
“We don’t want an electrical fire to start because a branch downed a power line,” City of Harrisburg spokesperson Matt Maisel said.
Because the tree is tangled in power lines, PPL has to turn off power for almost 60 people for at least a day and a half.
“Monday is going to be most of the day, Tuesday we’re hoping to be finished by early or mid-afternoon,” Sheely said.
“We’re not telling residents here that they have to leave, they can stay in their homes if they want,” Maisel said.
If people do need a place to go, HACC Midtown’s building will serve as a day shelter. The city is also working with the Red Cross.
“The Red Cross will be providing some hospitality items such as snacks and beverages,” Laura Burke, executive director of the Red Cross Central Pennsylvania chapter, said.
Burke said her team is used to running emergency shelters after disasters. This situation is a little different.
“What’s I think nice about this is we can actually plan for it. When a disaster strikes it’s reactive,” she said.
Get the latest Pennsylvania politics and election news with abc27 newsletters
Sheely echoed Burke’s comments.
“We can control the outages,” Sheely said. “When you have an emergency outage, it could be days until we get the power restored.”
Still, an outage is an inconvenience at best.
“A lot of people are working remotely, so not having access to WiFi or any other internet services,” Burke said.
At worst, an outage can be dangerous.
“If it’s going to be almost 90 degrees, how quickly your home can heat up without air conditioning,” Burke said.
That is where the red cross can help.
“Making sure there’s a comfortable and most importantly safe place for these people to go is really priority,” Burke said.
The tree removal starts Monday morning. The entire city block around the tree, including parts of Penn, Harris, Green and Clinton streets, will be closed to parking and traffic all week long.