A Staten Island homeowner who thought herself lucky because she was able to move back in after Hurricane Sandy is now questioning whether the luck has run out. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
Claudia McKenna can't seem to catch a break. The Midland Beach homeowner was able to move back into her storm-damaged home about a year ago but says she wonders every day whether she made the right decision. The source of her biggest concern: The water that's been running for the last several months, she says, in the two abandoned homes next to hers.
"I'm afraid these houses are gonna fall down. I'm afraid they're going to fall onto my property and damage my house that I, that we worked very hard to rebuild," McKenna said.
McKenna says she's called the city's Department of Environmental Protection repeatedly to complain about the running water. Last month, the agency promised to shut it off. But now the DEP says there's no quick fix since the problem is a broken service line that connects the watermain to individual homes. And like most of the beach bungalows built back in the 1920s the three homes share a service line. That means shutting off water for the abandoned homes will shut McKenna's off, too.
"I don't want my water shut off but I need some satisfaction," McKenna said.
The decision could cost her because fixing a service line is the homeowner's responsibility. The neighboring homes located 501 and 505 Midland Avenue are now up for sale by Wells Fargo Bank, leaving McKenna to pay for the repair alone, possibly as much as $15,000.
It's money she says she doesn't have.
A home located at 497 Midland Avenue has been abandoned since the 1990s. Just last month, the building was approved for demolition because of its disrepair. McKenna is hoping the two homes on either side of hers will eventually be demolished as well.
Calls to Wells Fargo about the abandoned properties were not returned.
Meantime, without the money to repair the service line, McKenna says she has no choice but to let the water run and hope for the best.