National Park Service contractor cuts down wrong tree

"These guys are supposed to be professionals taking down the tree, and they obviously knew more than I knew," said onlooker Jason Powell. "...and I knew a live tree and they didn't."

On Feb. 2, Powell was stunned as he watched Greentree, a contractor for the National Park Service, take down the tree at Farragut Square.{ }Instead of taking down the dead Ash tree on the southside, the contractor took down a 140-year-old Ginko tree located on the westside. The biggest Ginko in Downtown - now a stump.

Gerald Waid of McLean said, "I've been working in that building on the 6th floor for 14 years looking down on this tree. It's one of the most beautiful trees in D.C. I think I'm just shocked."

Park Service Spokeswoman Jenny Anzelmo Sarles added, "It's pretty incomprehensible how something like this can happen. We don't' know how this can happen...we're working with the company to possibly seek damages."

Greentree would only say it was an honest mistake.

The Washington Post's John Kelly broke the story.

"We love our trees, we love our history. This was a tree that combined both of those things," Kelly said.

The tree the company was supposed to cut down still has to go. The Park Service says it's dead and could fall during a storm. The question they have is should they keep this contractor or hire someone they consider more reliable.