Jennifer Koval-DeFranceschi says the city is responsible for what happened May 28.
It’s been an exhausting few months for residents in Thunder Bay who were hit by May’s flood.
Spofford Street’s Barb Lang cleaned up six feet of sewage from her basement. Partially insured, she used the money to rebuild a bedroom for her son because she was told a furnace would be covered by the city.
But as the temperature begins to drop and winter around the corner, she’s since been told that’s not happening. The damage was estimated at $50,000.
“I have no furnace in my house right now and I can’t afford to buy one,” she said as she fought off tears. “Nobody seems to help. They all say they’re going to do stuff and I’m just getting nowhere. I don’t know what to do anymore.”
Lang said her family has been using electric heater and even the stove to try and heat the home.
“How many times can you put your oven on?
“I’m getting really, really upset because nobody’s out there to help anybody anymore.”
She’s going to try and apply for whatever she can through the city’s disaster relief fund. But in the meantime, she wonders what families will do for heat once winter comes.
“I’m getting really ticked because I think the first thing on the agenda is for the city of Thunder Bay to get everybody furnaces,” she said.
A few doors down, Harry Duczynski is getting ready for his newborn baby to get home. He and his girlfriend were living in the basement when the flood hit. Everything they owned, including things bought for the baby, was destroyed by waist-level sewage that poured into the basement form the toilet and shower for two straight days.
“Everything we owned, literally everything she bought for the baby,” he said taking a break from painting the recently renovated walls Wednesday afternoon. “The only things that we could save were above waist level or what we carried up at the beginning.”
His father John, who owns the house and lives on the main floor, can’t get insurance because of a previous flood in 2008. He’s had to borrow money from family and take whatever help is available to rebuild.
Jennifer Koval-DeFranceschi had insurance for her North Brodie Street home. But it still left her paying a $1,000 deductible. Then there’s more than $2,000 worth of stuff that wasn’t covered.
“That’s still not right. I should have been 100 per cent covered,” the single mother of two said. “How could something like this happen?”
Both Lang and Koval-DeFranceschi blame the city for the damage, which was caused when the Atlantic Avenue Sewage Treatment Plant backed up. Koval-DeFranceschi has signed on with a class-action law suit to try and get her losses recouped. Lang hasn’t decided yet. Duczynski said what’s done is done.
“There’s no real point in signing on,” he said. “The city’s going to do what they can to help and other than that it’s out of their control. There’s no real reason to go and sue everybody for it.”
For Lang, it’s been a difficult time. People tell her the stress has changed her.
“When you lose everything you have how could you just keep a happy face all the time.”
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