Trees at Risk in Citrus Heights Neighborhood after Cable Company Installs Fiber Optic Cables

CITRUS HEIGHTS -- Heritage trees could be in trouble in a Citrus Heights neighborhood after a cable company went digging to install fiber optic cable.
That company is accused of not just disturbing nature, but uprooting one mother's memorial to her son.

In a community of greenery, the blue on the trees is what draws the eye. Those ribbons could mean anything from support for the ACLU to solidarity with law enforcement, but in the Crosswoods Community in Citrus Heights, they mean a tree at risk, a company accused, a heartbroken mother, outraged husband, and a city in the middle.

Most of the trees marked are Heritage Oaks planted on the housing community property. In May, CableCom, a contractor for Comcast dug very close to some of those trees while installing fiber optic cable.

Resident David Warren says CableCom’s digging or “trenching” work might have damaged the roots of about fifty historic trees .

“It has enhanced the possibility of dying and falling over,” said Warren.

Arborists seem to agree the trees can be saved with some extra, potentially costly, care. However, there is one tree that Kate Warren can’t stand to lose.

“I wanted to plant a living memorial to him,” said Kate Warren.

Kate Warren planted a Redwood 20 years ago, in honor of her son who died in a car crash hundreds of miles away. For two decades, she’s cared for the tree as she wishes she could have cared for her son

"I never got to stroke my son as he died. I think that if I can do this for the tree, I know it sounds crazy," she said.

Whether or not CableCom and Comcast actually did something wrong is in dispute. However, according to a Citrus Heights city attorney, a preliminary investigation by the City of Citrus Heights indicates CableCom/Comcast did not follow the city ordinances in relation to working around trees. While the trees may just be the Crosswoods Community's problem, David says a potential failure to respect the tree ordinance is everyone’s problem.

As of Thursday evening, Comcast had not admitted fault but did commit to paying for and costs associated with saving any trees damaged by their contractors.

The City of Citrus Heights says they are still investigating the matter between Comcast, Crosswoods, and the Warrens and are the process of compiling their own arborist report.

Editor's note: Shortly after our story aired Comcast came out to the Warrens' home and promised to pay for any care needed to help their memorial tree survive.