In an explanation of the enforcement process from the borough's administrator on Monday, several inspectors, he said, are available to authorize PPL to re-energize homes with flooding contained to the basement, something he classified as a "basic" code inspection. But, if a home sustained flooding on the first floor, the process is then characterized as an advanced code inspection process. We were told only one man can perform that inspection work. He is Jeff Remas, the principal of Advanced Code Group. Remas' company is contracted by West Pittston to perform inspections and other related work.
The borough's administrator, Sovina Bonita, agreed with the characterization Remas stood to make a windfall of cash since he is the one and only contractor supposedly authorized to perform "advanced" inspection work on significantly flooded properties. Estimates are 40 percent of West Pittston structures sustained some degree of flooding from last week's river crest of 42.66 feet.
At least one couple has hired an attorney to review the inspection of their property.
Another family says an inspector failed them when attempting to have power restored on Tuesday. In a desperate situation that has grown all the more dire, people are asking for a break. But they claim nobody seems too concerned among West Pittston's leadership, including council memers.
In an about-face, Eyewitness News received a more in-depth explanation in an hour-long interview with Remas. He said information provided by the borough hasn't always been accuraye
He denied allegations of using bully tactics when dealing with people hit by the floods. He instead sympathized with the amount of people who had no flood insurance. Remas also denied double-charging elderly customers for work already completed by other qualified inspectors.
In an attempt to dispel rumors, Remas said people who have flood damage can hire any qualified inspector to review electrical work, allowing PPL to re-energize homes. But he said his firm will have to inspect homes down the road before a certificate of occupancy can be issued. He told us the reason is because his company, as official inspector of the borough, can be held liable for work by another contractor.
But other contractors disagreed with Remas' assessment on who can inspect electrical work. At least one firm claimed the state's Department of Labor allows for multiple inspectors in emergency situations.