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Demanding Answers: CBS2's Marcia Kramer Helps Queens Homeowner Who Was Told City Tree That Fell On His House Couldn't Be Removed For 23 Days

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - A Queens resident was told he may have to wait more than three weeks for help to fix his storm-damaged home, so he turned to CBS2 for help.

We demanded answers and got action.

Juan Betancur walked around his Jamaica, Queens, home in a state of disbelief - disbelief that a city crew had actually shown up to deal with a massive oak tree that crashed his roof during Tropical Storm Isaias last week. Because when he tried calling 311 - and he did repeatedly - he got the brush off. The proverbial municipal cold shoulder, reported CBS2's Marcia Kramer.

By the city's own admission there are sill thousands like Juan Betancur waiting for help.

"We had called them three or four times a day. All you get is a report," Betancur said.

PHOTOS: Tropical Storm Isaias Leaves Path Of Destruction

The report said they would be updated in 23 days. That's 23 days with a hole in the roof and no way to fix it, and since it was a city tree, the city has to remove it or insurance won't cover it.

"I couldn't believe it: 23 days. Unheard of when you're living with your roof on the floor and thunderstorms are coming," Betancur said.

A spokesman for the Parks Department told CBS2 the agency received 21,000 calls for help after the storm, more than they receive in four entire months. They say 75% have been addressed, but that leaves over 5,000 people who still need help.

Kramer demanded answers from Mayor Bill de Blasio. She told the mayor about 311's cold shoulder.

"He's been having difficulty getting 311 to take his call, but they finally said we can't get there for 23 days," Kramer said. "Can you help this man? We sent a picture of the damage to your staff."

"Let me state the obvious. No one should wait 23 days. We did get hit hard by the storm... but we can't leave people vulnerable. So we're going to get to work on this immediately," de Blasio said.

Within an hour of that exchange, the Parks Department work crew was on the scene. Juan was delighted.

"CBS. My favorite news channel. CBS, channel 2, I'm not watching any other news channel," Betancur said.

We'll hold him to it.

But Mayor de Blasio is not off the hook. There are still many more vulnerable New Yorkers waiting for crews to arrive.

You can get the latest news, sports and weather on our brand new CBS New York app. Download here.

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