Watch out! Men in trees - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Watch out! Men in trees

By Donna McCollum

NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - These guys step around the storm debris on the ground. They go after the stuff most people don't even notice, but should. They're after hangers. Those huge limbs that are very dangerous. Contractor Jerry Stevens warns, "The hangers are very dangerous. They could kill a person so easily. A kid riding down on his bike. It's extremely important to get all of them."

That will be about 1000 hangers left along the 800 miles of Nacogdoches County roads by Hurricane Ike. People come out of their homes to watch these guys work. They climb up, way up. Arborist Stephen Coffee lists the risks as, "Well, you got vines. You got poison ivy. You've got coons in some of them. Most of that and being careful when you're operating the chain saw. Anytime you're operating chainsaws there's a risk of getting cut." His scars prove the risk. Tight knots keep them tied in. A friend's mishap is a reminder to use the safety ropes 100% of the time. Coffee shared, "Right now (he's) rolling around in a wheelchair. Came out from south Carolina and he crushed both of his heels, crushed his face and he broke his pelvis away from his spine. He will be able to walk again, but he won't be able to work for another 2 to 3 years."

The arborists work in pairs, taking turns spotting for one another. Awareness is the key.   Contractor Roger Stanley describes it as, "The name of this game is making foot. You got to make feet. Get out of the way." Good advice for motorists too. Sometimes roads are blocked by work trucks. Awareness and patience are necessary. Observe the warning signs. Work is occurring on the ground and in the trees.

More North Carolina crews are arriving in the coming days. The foreman said he was told by the county all the debris was already in piles, which it isn't. This will take more manpower. They expect to have the pickup completed in about 45 days.

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