LIDO BEACH, N.Y.—Imagine coming home to the overpowering smell of oil in your home every day—for eight years. That’s how long ago home heating oil from a neighbors leaking oil tank flooded the crawl space of Steve Kritzberg and Lynn Eskanazi Lido Beach home.
“I see it percolating up from the cracks in the cement slab, and I’m like, ‘Oh my God, we’re in trouble,’” Kritzberg said.
“It’s awful. You walk into the house and it smells so bad that you’re thinking, ‘Oh my God, this is going to kill us. I gotta get out of here,’” Eskanazi said.
They have had to move out of their home repeatedly because of the stench and have filed claims with their neighbor’s insurance companies to have 10 feet of soil removed from their property and their home rebuilt.
The insurance companies settled a year ago, but have not paid the claim arguing that the oil is going away by itself.
But experts say the 1,000 gallons of leaking oil isn’t going anywhere. “We always say Mother Nature will take care of it, but its present in such high concentration, that Mother Nature can’t do anything with it,” said geologist James DeMartinis of Holzmacher Engineering.
“It reeks of fuel oil, so it’s still there,” Kritzberg said.
Lawyers and professionals have cost Kritzberg and Eskanazi more than $1 million. “Including what money we had for our kids’ college funds. My parents spent their entire retirement fund,” Eskanazi said.
Hanover Insurance Group representatives said they have made very reasonable offers to remediate the situation and will continue to work toward a resolution. Officials from Beacon, the other insurance company involved, have not commented.
If and when the insurance claim is paid, Kritzberg and Eskanazi will face more legal battles to recoup the more that $1 million they have spent in legal fees.
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