‘Give me hope there's an end to all of this.’ Residents lack update on restoration plans for scorched complex
Almost two years after Mountainview condos burned down, families tell News 12 they are still no closer to returning to their homes.
The complex left 16 people homeless following a fire in spring 2019. Since then, reconstruction plans have been halted due to asbestos issues.
“I’m numb. I’m numb to it really now,” says resident Don Scheulan.
The insurance settlement and the former contractor dying also play a part in the delay.
Families impacted by the fire say they are emotionally and financially drained. According to residents, their contract with the condominium still forces them to pay common charges, with some even paying for mortgages.
Sandra Yacopino, 73, tells News 12 her hope has diminished. “I was the eternal optimist, but eternity stopped,” says Yacopino.
News 12 reported on the slow progress last summer, but work began offering a small glimmer of hope. But unfortunately, that didn’t last long with the job coming to a standstill in December.
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Hoping for a date, Scheulan believes a ballpark date would suffice, saying in part, "Give me hope there's an end to all of this.”
For the time being, Yacopino stays in their snowbird sanctuary in Florida while Scheulan splits his time between there and New York for family.
Clarkstown supervisor George Hoehmann realizes it’s a tough time for all. “This only exacerbates it. I can't imagine in a pandemic not being in a home. Some of these people are living in very temporary accommodations.” To offer assistance, Clarkstown has expedited permits and inspections. However, with 21 months already gone, Hoehmann said he was speaking with their attorney on Wednesday. "It’s been a long period of time, these people need to get back into their homes,” says Hoehmann.
The property manager says there isn’t a timeline as to when families will be able to return. However, they are currently in discussions with the construction company to see if they will complete the job.
In the event they are unable to do so, the property manager says they’ll find a new company to do the work.