First reported 8/4/2010 5:25 p.m.

A 60-plus-year-old tree in a back yard on Elgin Avenue lasted through the 75 mph winds that, back in June, snapped some nearby trees just above the roots. But at 9 a.m. last Wednesday morning, during light rain and relatively light wind, the top of the tall boxelder split. The part that fell landed on the homeowner’s car and on his next-door neighbor’s garage.

“First I saw sparks. Then I saw the tree down, and wires down with it,” said Patty Marino, whose house on the 1300 block of Marengo is across the alley.

Marino, still amid major home repairs after a parkway tree fell on the front of her house during the June 18 storm, immediately alerted the fire and police departments.

“What was left standing was precariously standing. I was afraid that part of the tree was going to come down on my garage,” Marino said.

This time, the village’s Public Works crew couldn’t come to the rescue. This tree was on private property.

The part left standing also worried the owner of the property where the boxelder stood, according to Rick Sinnott, whose tree-removal company got a call from the owner.

Mid-morning, just after two ComEd trucks arrived, so did Sinnott Tree Service. By 1 p.m., the neighborhood’s electrical power was restored. By 2 p.m., the tree was fully cut and the alley was cleared.

Had rainfall this summer not been so heavy, the tree might have survived, according to Sinnott, who said this boxelder had basal decay – a condition that didn’t show, but one that made the tree all the more vulnerable in so wet a season.

“Trees are absorbing water as if it were April. This summer, some trees have pulled in so much water, they’re no longer capable of holding themselves up,” said Sinnott, who said he and his crew found a “peanut buttery” interior as they started cutting the tree away. “Trees don’t know when to say when.”

Sinnott estimated this boxelder was 60 to 70 years old.