Tree removal company urges use of professional services after Louisville man dies cutting branches

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Louisville man died Thursday night while he was cutting down damaged tree branches from a recent ice storm earlier this month.

Richard Freeh, 46, was helping out at a family member's home on Cedar Creek Road.

“He's just always outside cleaning the yard, cleaning the neighbor's yards, just cutting trees down, cutting grass, anything he can do, it seems, to help all the neighbors out,” said CJ Decker, who lived nearby.

Officials said it appears Freeh either fell from 10-12 feet or was knocked off a ladder by a large branch. The coroner said the branch landed on his chest, and Freeh died of multiple blunt force injuries.

“You can never be too safe when it comes to tree work,” said Lee Gutterman with Limbwalker Tree Service. “There's a degree of unpredictability, especially if you're not trained in doing this type of thing.”

Gutterman said tree and branch removal skyrocketed after the ice storm during what is usually a slow time of year.

“The demand for me individually is up by like 500 percent compared to last year,” he said.

It's a similar story for other tree service companies around the area.

Gutterman said a lot of people think removing trees or branches is something they can handle themselves, but he said that's dangerous thinking, especially because it’s even considered a hazardous job for professionals.

“Tree care in general is one of the most dangerous jobs in the country, in the world, really,” Gutterman said. “There are fatalities in the industry almost every day.”

Officials said Freeh’s death was an accident, and no foul play is suspected.

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