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Flood aftermath costs residents

| Friday, July 13, 2007

While Mayor Aileen Reid sought ways Thursday to get flood relief money for the borough, residents continued to scrub, drain and fret.

Indiana Avenue resident Rhoda Aikins, 79, said 3 1/2 feet of sewage filled her basement last week. The water blew the lid off of one of her two sump pumps and ruined her hot water heater, she said.

The tomatoes in her garden also were spoiled by the flow of tainted "fertilizer."

"Oh, what a mess," she said. "It was all mud. And, of course, now I'm stuck. I've got no one to help."

Aikins said she plans to put the $300 water heater on credit now that she knows no state or federal money is on the way.

"I'm a widow, so I don't have that much coming in," she said. " 'Course, when my husband was alive, I didn't have that much coming in, either.

"I think they ought to help us at least a little bit," she said. "Or maybe the county. Heck, I'd take money from the borough. At least $50."

Julie Sieczkowski, 73, of Westmoreland Avenue said she was relaxing at her sister's house last week when her son called.

"He called me and said, 'You better come home -- your house is flooded.'"

Sieczkowski said she has spent about $1,000 so far on flood damage. She's gone through 12 boxes of bleach scrubbing her basement, she said.

"I'm covered for everything but sewage, and that's what I got," she said.

Immediately after the flood, Sieczkowski said she called county officials and asked them to reimburse her for the cost of cleaning up her basement.

She was turned down.

"I know it's not their fault that it rained," she said. "I said, 'Just please help us with the water I use for cleaning.' But I am grateful I could do my own cleaning."

Still, the hours of cleaning are taking their toll, she said.

"I'm an old lady," Sieczkowski said. "I don't even have a husband to holler at and say, 'Do this, do that.'"

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