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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Low Lying Neighborhoods Fear Floods

All this week, Newswatch 16 has been taking a closer look at the impact of the historic September flooding two months later.

A trip along Route 92 from Falls in Wyoming County to West Pittston in Luzerne County, an area pounded by the flooded Susquehanna River, is a ride that showed us flood victims going from horror to hope.

Take a ride through any of the low-lying neighborhoods off Route 92 and you'll find streets still lined with debris and homes still wrecked by flood waters.

Our trip begins in Falls. That is where we met Bob Firley, still looking in awe at all the damage. Homes are moved or gone. He is one of the few left there right now.

"My wife and I, we are the fighting Irish. We're going to get through this. We're not going anywhere," Firley said. But in Falls he fears others lack that resolve. "I don't think it will ever be the same again."

Farther down Route 92 in the Harding area 30 mobile homes used to be in Riverview Village. It was the home to dozens of people. They have all been torn down.

"It's just a disaster. There's nothing left. Everything's gone. It's sad," said Anthony Jakuciounis said. He used to live there. He was collecting scrap metal from what's left. "It was unbelievable. Everyone was running around here at one point and now it's just a vacant lot."

No matter where you go along this stretch of the Susquehanna River there is a mess. Remains of people's homes, remains of people lives scattered along the riverbank and, at this point, who knows how long it will take for what is now junk to be gone.

The streets of West Pittston are also lined with junk.

It will be gone at some point, but still, two months later there is so much of it.

The curb in front of Joe Stevenson's house is lined with it.

"It's been a little bit depressing. Everything takes longer than you think it's going to take. It takes longer to get money from the insurance company and to get all the bills paid and then the damage was a lot more than we originally expected it to be," Stevenson said.

The inside of his house is gutted. Now he waits for the studs to dry out, just like many of his neighbors.

"When you drive around at night and see all the houses are still dark it's really depressing, but I think one day West Pittston will come back, sooner or later, hopefully sooner," Stevenson added.

Historically high flood water swamped much of the community. It left hundreds of homes and businesses in need of repair.

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