A large oak tree crushed a former laundromat on Scott Street in Bainbridge during a recent storm.
The old Econo-Wash at 210 N. Scott Street is essentially a total loss after the old oak tree fell over, caving in the business’ roof and knocking the glass out of the building’s windows and doors.
Roy Oliver, Bainbridge’s assistant city manager, said the tree reportedly fell during a heavy thunderstorm on June 12, although it wasn’t reported to city officials until Monday. The property owner is currently living in Florida and has been contacted about the damage, Oliver said.
The assistant city manager said he expected someone would first have to remove the large tree and its many limbs, and then the building will probably have to be demolished due to severe damage. Several washing machines and dryers, as well as letters from the laundromat’s sign are being stored within the building. There is a large amount of glass scattered along the property line facing Scott Street.
Oliver said he is aware that other neighborhood property owners are concerned about the possibility of large old oak trees falling on their businesses or homes. The assistant city manager pointed out one oak tree behind Parker Paints, just across the street from the laundromat, that is hollowed out on the inside of its trunk, even though its leaves are still green.
“In the past few months, we’ve had multiple incidents of oak trees falling on homes or businesses, and you don’t see the tree uprooted–it just kind of breaks off at the ground level,” Oliver said. “Because the trees are so large, you don’t really know which way they are going to fall and what they would hit.”
At the same time, many of Bainbridge’s old oak trees are protected by the Bainbridge tree ordinance, which requires commercial property owners to apply to the city’s Tree Committee before removing large trees or doing significant trimming of their limbs.