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Tons of toppled trees: storm clean-up stretches on

September 14, 2018

A week after last Thursday’s storm damaged their apartment, the four residents of Pine A are still staying elsewhere. Facilities Management has estimated that it will take about a month for the total damage from the storm, which involved 69 mile per hour winds and caused 30,000 power outages in the Brunswick area, to be fixed completely.

When facilities crew members arrived at Pine Apartments, according to Senior Associate Director of Facilities Operations Jeff Tuttle, the first thing they did was go inside to make sure no one was hurt. Then, they secured the area, ensuring that no one else could enter. The four students living in Pine A were not at home during the storm.

Director of Housing Operations Lisa Rendall informed the occupants that they needed to move their belongings and helped them find temporary housing in Brunswick Apartments.

“Some debris and stuff like that came into the apartment and got into laundry … but all their electronics looked like they were fine, which was super lucky,” said Rendall.

According to Tuttle, the main ridge pole at the top of the apartment was damaged. A more than 40-foot pine tree fell through the roof over the common space. Another branch fell through the bedroom ceiling on one side of the room. Tuttle emphasized how pine trees, which are often especially tall, sometimes don’t show any outward signs of rot which can lead to their collapse. He said that while there may be rotting inside pine trees, “you just can’t predict it.” According to the Office of Safety and Security, 11 trees were downed last Thursday.

“We try to minimize the damage from unhealthy trees or trees that are structurally unfit,” said Tuttle.

The College has an arborist who keeps track of the health of all the trees on campus, making sure that trees with very long limbs are trimmed, and unhealthy trees are taken down.

When the repairs on Pine A are completed, the four student occupants may move back in. Since there are some rooms do not need repair, the students only removed items they would want to use over the next four weeks.

The only other Bowdoin structure damaged by the storm was Dudley Coe, home to the Office of Residential Life and several academic offices. During the storm, a branch broke off of a tree, flying from one side of the building to another and crashing through the window next to the workspace of Danielle Miller, coordinator of residential life operations. Miller was not sitting at her desk when it happened, although she was in her office.

Additionally, according to Tuttle, nearby cross country trails need a lot of cleanup, and there are broken limbs high in the trees that need to be taken down.

On the day of the storm, power went out on Bowdoin’s campus at 1:30 p.m. It took about three hours for the Central Maine Power Company to restore power to north campus and four more to restore it to south campus.

“It was pretty quick with the amount of trees that were down,” said Tuttle. “We are a lot more in shape now to handle these things than we were 20 years ago. State of Maine power outages—it’s a wild card, a way of life here. And that’s just part of living in New England, in a rural location with power lines that are above ground.”

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