Last month, the Rivera family got new floors, dry wall, molding and furniture. The heavy rains Cinnaminson had in April caused at least five inches of water to ruin the entire first floor of their cape style home. It ruined all the ductwork in their crawlspace and their air conditioning and heating units.
Repairs were nearly $9,000, not including the money spent to stay at hotels and keep their dogs in a kennel.
When , Barbara Rivera prepared as much as she could. She put her furniture on risers but the new floor; well she had to take her chances.
A few days after Irene hit, Barbara was ripping up the hardwood bamboo slats and moving them to the front of her house as trash.
“It’s a nightmare,” Rivera said.
When Rivera moved here in 2003, she didn’t know the house not only sat in a flood zone, but also was so low.
“There’s nothing you can do,” Rivera said, “other than raise the house.
Rivera and her family moved here from northeast Philadelphia because of the school district. Her daughter is 19 and her son is 17, and starting his senior year at Cinnaminson High School.
“It’s a hassle,” Rivera said of the flooding happening right around the beginning of school. “It’s very inconvenient—and costly.”
Days after Hurricane Irene, it wasn’t even safe for the family to sleep at the house because of the smell and airborne particles.
“It’s still in the air,” she said.
And Barbara has had to do a lot of this on her own. Since the Sunday after Hurricane Irene, Barbara husband, a PECO employee, has had to work 18-hour days.
“We can’t do this again,” Rivera said. “He shouldn’t have to spend his overtime, his money to go on vacations, to fix this house every time it rains. If we were told it flooded like this, we would have never lived here.”
Rivera has looked into a real estate lawyer since she and her husband feel there may have been some wrongdoing when they settled on their house.
But for now, Rivera is seeking Federal Emergency Management Agency aid. Burlington County was received approved for aid, and residents and business owners can apply now.
“Now, we wait,” she said.