40-foot tree falls onto Mesa man’s home; how to address damage if it happens to you

A State Farm representative says more than 700 claims between Maricopa and Pima counties were filed for damage related to Sunday's storms.
Published: Jul. 19, 2022 at 9:08 PM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — People across the Valley are still cleaning up around their homes following those monsoon storms. For one Mesa man, the wind was so intense his neighbor’s tree landed on his home, causing holes in the roof and allowing rain to get inside as it down poured. Travis Clawson and his family were watching the storms from inside their home on Sunday night. Unfortunately, what they thought was noise from thunder and lightning was actually a 40-foot tree landing on their home. “It’s crazy. It was like a boom,” Clawson said.

After 36 hours with no power, Clawson was back at his home Tuesday, looking at the damage left behind. “Within a couple of minutes, the whole thing just crashed down,” Clawson said. His neighbor’s nearly 40-foot tall pine tree uprooted and landed on his roof. “It just dropped the cinderblock down,” Clawson said. “All three of these branches are impaled into the roof.”

The branches dug into the foundation, allowing water to come in as it poured. “You can see where it leaked through really bad and it’s got a couple inches of water in there (in the bucket),” Clawson said. Clawson says the tree has been dead for about six months. He called the City of Mesa Code Compliance team to have his neighbor take the tree down. The team gave him two weeks to prove he had plans in place to get it removed. Clawson says his neighbor did act on it, but the timing wasn’t in their favor. “Well, he had two weeks. Today is the end of the two-week period and of course, Sunday it came crashing down,” Clawson said.

The storms caused problems for hundreds of people across Arizona. Amy Harris with State Farm says more than 700 claims between Maricopa and Pima counties were filed for home damage related to Sunday’s storms. She explains who is responsible in these situations. “If it’s my tree that falls on your house, you are responsible for that as the homeowner unless you can prove the tree was already dead or rotten before the weather or storm knocked it over. It’s your responsibility,” Harris said. “In that case it could fall on the homeowner who had the tree if the homeowner’s tree was already dead before the storm knocked it over, he could be liable for that one.”

For Clawson, he says the damage is repairable. He is just happy no one was hurt. “We’ve raised six kids here and yeah it’s a bit devastating,” Clawson said. He says his neighbor has been very helpful and has already filed a claim with his insurance company.