NORDONIA HILLS — The sound of chainsaws and chippers could be heard throughout the area as local tree services went about the business of cleaning up after last week’s storm.
While those who have had trees fall onto their homes may be dealing with inconvenience, the workers who were called on to deal with the mess are feeling pretty good.
"It’s like we hit the lottery," said contractor Randy Nickschinski, whose six-man crew has the heavy equipment needed to remove trees that have crashed onto homes.
"I’ll be working seven days a week probably for the next month," he added.
In the first four days after the storm, Nickschinksi said his crew removed around 30 trees that fell on homes throughout Nordonia Hills and Twinsburg. And homeowner insurance policies are paying $2,000 to $6,000 per job, he says.
One of those homes is owned by Northfield Center Trustee John Romanik, who two days after the storm had to deal with losing the Nov. 7 election.
His wife Barb said it will take some time for repairs to be made to their Skyland Drive home.
"It’s just going to be a major inconvenience for a while," she said. "In every life, rain and trees must fall."
Nickschinski said homeowners are generally happy when his crew arrives.
"Our No. 1 priority is to get these dangerous trees off of the homes first," he said. "They’re very happy we got there. They’re still shocked at what happened to their house. We’re like their best friends."
Not all of the work is residential. Nickschinski was scheduled to clean up at Dodge Intermediate School and R.B. Chamberlin Middle School in Twinsburg on Sunday — a week after the storm.
The crew operate a 125-foot crane, a 75-foot bucket truck, a truck with a chipper, a Bobcat with a grapple and a mini excavator with a grapple.
While some homeowners elect to keep the wood, the rest is fed into the chipper, which converts logs up to 18 inches in diameter into the raw material for mulch. He delivers most of the chips to landscaping firms in Oakwood and Bedford.
Around the region, many services could not be contacted, as they were out on the job, leaving behind full voicemail inboxes in their offices.
"We’ve been very busy," said Kyle Celmer, district manager for Davey Tree’s West Cleveland Office. "We started getting calls [Sunday] night while the storm was happening from our clients who had some damage and were trying to get on the schedule. We try to prioritize those jobs with severity. Is the tree on the house? Is it down in the backyard?"
While removing a tree that has fallen on a home can cost thousands, simpler jobs can cost as little as $300, Celmer said. Because of the volume of work, workers may have to return at some later date to remove stumps.
Celmer said he wants encourage people who have storm damage to assess the entire area, especially overhead.
"A lot of times they only look down in their backyard and they’re not looking up at other trees that it crashed into. Are there broken hangers that are still stuck in the tree that you don’t necessarily see?"
"I think after a storm, it’s crucial people assess their trees from the bottom to the top," he said. "You might have a broken branch, but it didn’t hit the ground."
Reporter Steve Wiandt contributed to this story.