Professional tree cutters and climbers talk safety after Lufkin - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Professional tree cutters and climbers talk safety after Lufkin tree cutting death

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LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) -

The tragic accident where Jonathan Fagg, 25, of Huntington was trimming a tree when a limb fell on Fagg killing him instantly. His body was stuck about 50 feet up in the tree.

Lufkin Fire Department had to bring in a fire truck with a bucket to cut the limb off the man so they could recover his body.  

And now tree cutting experts talk about the dangers of the job and precautions they take to ensure their safety.

"This is very dangerous," said owner of Brothers Tree Service, Brent Greusel.

It's hazardous job but somebody's got to do it.

Tree cutters and climbers put their lives on the line and their fate in the hands of their equipment and experience.

"Experience counts for a lot," said Greusel.

Greusel says that experience coupled with a thorough analysis of every tree cutting job is essential to a safe environment.

"It's more unpredictable because a tree grows and you don't know everything the tree has been exposed to," said Greusel. "You don't know how it may twist. The balance may be a little bit off there's all sorts of variables in it that can make it inherently dangerous."

Owner of K. E. Hannah Tree Service, Kenneth Hannah says, "All trees are different. They all react differently. Pretty much you just try to over-think it and be 2 or 3 steps ahead like chess."

Hannah says in addition to experience you also have to implement your own personal safety plan.

"I try to keep all my equipment upkeep and maintained. I check for breaks in the rope. Don't use working lines for climbing lines," said Hannah.

"Whenever we're doing tree work we wear hard hats. We wear saw chaps. We look at the job very carefully. We identify any possible dangers," said Greusel.

And the recent death of a man who was crushed by a falling limb in a tree he was trimming is a reminder of the looming danger every time a tree cutter climbs into a tree.

"It put it in the forefront of my mind. It hits really close to home," said Greusel.

Hannah said hearing the news hit him on a personal level.

"It's dangerous work and usually unforgiving," said Hannah.

Both professionals say those looking to hire a tree service to remove a tree should look for someone with extensive experience and insurance.

Both professional climbers say even though an immense amount of prep-work goes into each job trees both alive and dead are unpredictable.

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