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Zombtrees attack Manhattan Beach

Death from above: Sabrina Banfi of Manhattan Beach says it is only a matter of time before a branch from the sickly trees on Falmouth Street knocks someone on the head.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

Zombtrees strike again!

Trees along a Manhattan Beach street in are dropping dead branches left and right, creating a clear public safety hazard, but neighbors say the city is ignoring the Zombtree menace.

Residents of Falmouth Street say they’re calling 311 about the matter and either getting the runaround or not hearing back — leaving them in limbo.

“They kept saying they’d contact me within five days but they never did,” said Sabrina Banfi, who has called 311 about the trees at least three times in the last month. “I don’t want to feel responsible if somebody gets hurt.”

This paper was the first to raise the alarm of Southern Brooklyn’s zombtree apocalypse. Hurricane Sandy flooded the peninsula with salt water in October 2012, killing or severely damaging trees throughout the storm-stricken area. The salt-killed trees were left looming menacingly over residents like undead arbors, ready to strike at any moment.

In 2013, the city mounted a campaign to remove Sandy-damaged city trees — inspecting more than 48,000 and removing about 2,000 — but the department passed over Falmouth Street, where at least four residences on both sides of the street have lodged complaints about dead trees since January, city records show.

There not been any casualties — yet — but falling limbs have caused damage to at least two cars, forcing residents to give up precious spots in the parking-strapped neighborhood.

“It’s not the end of the world, but its frustrating that I can’t park outside of my house,” said Oren Salman, who got dinged with a $350 repair bill after a plummeting branch dented his car.

Salman said he called 311 and, to his confusion, the agency referred him to the Comptroller’s Office, which handles the city’s treasury, not its trees.

A 311 spokeswoman said the agency may have routed him through the Comptroller to get him reimbursed for vehicle repairs, but Salman said he just wants the tress taken care of before somebody gets hurt.

“Forget the cars, the trees are a hazard to people,” he said.

A Parks Department spokeswoman said the agency will inspect the area in June and deal with any dead trees at that time. A 311 spokeswoman could not explain why Banfi did not receive confirmations, and only found one record of a 311 call placed from her address in the last month.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at mjaeger@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8303. Follow him on Twitter @MJaeger88.

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