Woman climbs large tree to prevent Georgia Power from cutting it down

A woman who climbed a large oak tree in northwest Atlanta Thursday says she will return Friday.

Jenifer Firestone climbed into what she said is a 100-year-old tree at the Cross Creek Condominiums early Thursday morning to prevent Georgia Power from cutting it down.

“I’m here to prevent further carnage to our trees that they have no reason to cut down,” she said. “I knew they wouldn’t cut it down with me in it.”

The 59-year old and some neighbors said they are in this together.

“So, this morning we got up and we’re just sick about it,” condo owner Lou Benson told Channel 2 Action News. “We said, ‘That’s it. We’re going to make this happen. If we go down, we’re going down swinging.’”

Alissa Smith-Cote, of Stone Mountain, said she and her son joined Firestone from the ground after hearing on the radio that Georgia Power stopped in the middle of negotiations and began cutting with chainsaws.

“You don’t negotiate with a chainsaw,” Smith-Cote said. “A 100-year-old tree can’t be mended or replace.”

Firestone stayed put all day and was still straddling a branch as the sun set, but she climbed down shortly after 6 p.m., saying she’d be back on her branch in the morning.

Georgia Power roped off the area and officials with the company said the construction work near Cross Creek is related to a large scale infrastructure project in northwest Atlanta.

“This is a multi-year project critical to ensuring reliability in Atlanta including Hartsfield-Jackson, the CDC and hundreds of thousands of residents,” Georgia Power spokesman John O’Brien said. “We appreciate residents’ concerns regarding trees in the area and we’re committed to working with management at the residential complex, as well as through the entire project, to minimize the impact to established trees and vegetation.”

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