Firewood giveaway causes traffic jam

May 12, 2023 | Communities

Chainsaw Artist Alex Richey begins carving a log couch for Three Marm Brewery (Photos by Douglas W. Motley)


On Wednesday, May 3, there was a traffic jam in Top Town Crestline as Heights Tree Service gave out pickup truck size loads of spilt firewood to residents who needed it. This was part of their community service plan.

As a tree service, Heights Tree Service often needs to remove trees and believed, instead of just throwing away all the wood trunks they removed, if they just split it, many residents could be gifted with the wood, and they could save a lot on heating costs. Heights Tree service owners Alex Richey and Luis Fermatt wanted to do good deeds for the community so they continued to give out wood until all had some.

Fermatt is a certified arborist (ISA) and a member of the Western Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture who can diagnose trees and knows when they can be saved, which branches need to be trimmed for safety and those trees that need to be removed. The men who run Heights Tree Service offer a variety of services, including having a crane so they can access the tops of trees.

The traffic jam was created because more than 70 people came to get a truckload of wood. Several people ended up waiting patiently for over an hour to get a load of the split wood, which was mostly pine wood.

Certified arborist Luis Fermatt (L) and chainsaw artist Alex Richey (R) carving wood couches for Three Marm Brewery.

Certified arborist Luis Fermatt (L) and chainsaw artist Alex Richey (R) carving wood couches for Three Marm Brewery.

Richey, who is also a chainsaw artist, had another appointment at noon at Three Marm Brewery, where he had promised to make couches from huge pine logs he had previously delivered. Andy Divoff, owner of Three Marm Brewery, located at the corner of Knapp’s Cutoff and Lake Drive, had opened the brewery especially that Wednesday for the chainsaw carving afternoon. He was serving hotdogs and beans to the spectators of the carving afternoon. He was also showing off the pictures and article about the recent brewing of the Firework Haze IPA that was brewed in the Three Marm vats to raise funds for the Jamboree Days fireworks show.

Richey arrived a couple of hours late because he had not expected there to be 70 trucks wanting firewood and he didn’t want to disappoint anyone, and even split some more wood for them. He helped load the trucks for the giveaway. By the end of the wood giveaway, they had given away more than six tons of firewood.

“There obviously is a large need for firewood,” Richey said, “and, although tired after the giveaway, I am extremely satisfied and fulfilled having done it. I plan to do another giveaway, hopefully every month or so.”

When he arrived at Three Marm Brewery at 2:30 p.m., many people were there to watch him create two couches from two large, 40-inch-diameter, five- and-seven-foot-long logs.

This was a busy day for Richey and his other chainsaw artist, Vince Tervert, as they cut into the logs with vigor. Because of the delayed start, they didn’t quite finish the couches, but will return this next week. The couches will be on display when completed at Three Marm Brewery for the next month or so, unless someone buys one. Another example of these couches is a smaller version at the bus stop in Top Town Crestline in front of Heights Tree Service’s lumberyard next to Hilltop Liquor.

For more information, contact Heights Tree Service at (323) 378-9023 (Fermatt) or at (626) 315-0678 (Richey).  Heights Tree Service’s contractor license is #1093196 and ISA# WE-11160AT. They belong to


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