South Philly Home Turning Into Real ‘Treehouse’
By Syma Chowdhry
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Most Philadelphia residents like the idea of a greener city filled with trees… just not when it’s growing inside a house.
Steven Whisler lives in a home behind the property located on the 1300 block of South Hicks Street and snapped a photo showing a tree growing outside the second story window.
“They just cut it down a couple of days ago, but it was a full-grown tree,” Whisler said.
The root of the issue is more than a blight problem. David Lombardo is a realtor trying to sell the house next door. He noticed a problem coming from the vacant property.
“We started getting a little moisture in the basement,” he explained. “Then we realized the tree had come through the house and clogged up the downspout.”
He went out on a limb and called a contractor to trim the branches because it was causing rain water to fall on the roof next door.
“Other owners of houses next door often have to burden the cost of repairing someone else’s property,” Lombardo added. “They are just absentee owners.”
Neighbors say they’re stumped on how nature made itself at home.
“That would be the interesting thing, just have no idea how that got started and how long it’s been there,” Whisler said.
Experts say it stems from weeds. If they are not removed, it will grow taller and taller, turning into a tree.
Eyewitness News called L&I and they sent someone over to the property. After inspecting the exterior, officials deemed it a hazard.
Eyewitness News also talked with the property owner Tuesday and he says he didn’t know there is a tree growing inside.
“As of now it is fine but I’m sure any blighted house sitting with a tree or not will eventually cause damage to the houses next to it, just with water damage and the actual structure becoming unsafe over time,” Lombardo explained.
L&I officials say they plan on writing a case against the property for the tree and other issues.
Neighbors say they hope that will help the owner turn over a new leaf.