Palm tree fire sparks concerns for Valley businesses

Palm tree fire sparks concerns for Palm Springs business owners

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - Dennis Grau celebrated the grand opening of Grau Vacation Rentals in Palm Springs Friday. The celebration went up in smoke after six palm trees went up in flames outside the business around 1:30 a.m. Sunday.

"It was pretty dramatic," said Gau. "It burned the top of our roof, it burned the palm trees you see in the background, a lot of water damage."

No one was hurt and the cause is still under investigation.

A couple thousand dollars later in cleanup and charred landscape, Grau said the big problem is the untrimmed skirts on palm trees throughout the city.

"They're just waiting to catch on fire. Anyone who throws a cigarette, they're going to go up," he said. "There's a concern we need to keep this iconic look. I'm just not sure that that's what we need to do."

"The skirt in front of my business has dropped about four times. I think it's very lucky no one has been hurt," said Joy Meredith, owner of Crystal Meredith.

We contacted the city's maintenance and facilities director about the issue. The city will begin palm tree maintenance mid-June and trim trees across all of Palm Springs. The plan was set before the fire.

Grau said public safety should come first.

"It could've been a lot worse. I'm just grateful it didn't get any worse," he said.

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