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NOBLESVILLE, Ind. — After strong winds splintered a tree and crushed four cars parked underneath it, the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners agreed to pay for the damages.

“We are so grateful that no one was hurt in this incident,” said Hamilton County Commissioner Christine Altman. “The vehicles involved can be replaced or repaired. We’re just incredibly lucky this incident didn’t result in someone getting hurt.” 

The 86-foot tree was located on the northeast corner of the Old Courthouse Square in Noblesville. Strong winds on the evening of Thursday, Oct. 21, caused the tree to splinter and topple onto the cars parked in spaces outside the courthouse.

The commissioners said the tree was certified by an arborist three years ago and deemed healthy at the time.

“We did not have evidence that the tree was diseased, dying or posing any threat,” Altman said. “Even though there is a question if the County is responsible under common law for the damage caused by the fallen tree, we feel strongly that we should assume responsibility for the damage caused to the vehicles. We do not want to place additional burden on those affected and want to get them back ‘on the road’ as quickly as possible.”   

Damages to the vehicles are estimated to be near $100,000.

The tree was examined by an arborist who determined it could not be saved and needed to be removed. The tree’s lineage will continue, however, as the county began cultivating saplings from the tree’s acorns several years ago and plans to plant them on the courthouse square.