Flood Victims Consider Lawsuit Against Elected Leaders
Duryea, Luzerne County -- Frustration filled AuRants Restaurant as Duryea flood victims talked about an alleged breach -- one they claim deals with borough leaders. Devastated residents met with a lawyer claiming their elected Duryea officials failed them.
"A lot of these people are lifelong Duryea residents and they know what's been done in the past and they want to know why it wasn't done and they want to know if they can take any legal action concerning their loss," said former councilman Stan Kapish whose home was flooded.. He helped organized this meeting.
What's in question is when Duryea's mayor and council knew a serious flood threat existed on September 8th from the confluence of the Lackawanna and Susquehanna Rivers -- and if they took proper action. "A lot of people were told approximately 7, 8 hours after they were supposed to be told so that would have given them plenty of time to move the material and their personal belongings to a safer location."
Among those who lost so much is Gregory Germek. His Main Street, Duryea home is where the ham radio operator chatted with the International Space Station. He blames the borough for not imposing a mandatory flood evacuation on his neighborhood much sooner. "I could have saved thousands and thousands of dollars worth of testing equipment and electronic equipment that I had. I probably estimate between my radio and testing equipment, like $60,000 worth of equipment that I lost that nobody's going to replace."
Mr. Germek also claims borough leaders should have taken other preventive measures well before flood waters caused utter devastation to several blocks within the borough. "As soon as they thought there was a chance of anything happening they should have been sandbagging the dikes or you know something could have been done." Now, he and the other flood victims wait to see if something legally can be done to recoup their losses.
Philadelphia Attorney Jack Bernard gathered information from Duryea flood victims at the meeting. He plans to let them know soon if they have legal grounds to sue borough leaders.