LI family's Sandy struggle offers cautionary tale for Harvey, Irma victims

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A Long Island family is still dealing with house-raising headaches nearly five years after Superstorm Sandy, and they worry that the victims of Harvey and Irma could face similar struggles as rebuilding efforts begin.

Nancy Hemendinger's grandfather, father and their cousins built their family home in Amity Harbor across from a canal. The home had been in the family since the 1950s, but it was destroyed by Superstorm Sandy, when water came all the way up to the windows.

Hemendinger and her husband quickly rebuilt, and they later decided to get their home raised up off the ground. But that's when they say their new nightmare began.

The family says an engineer told them the home wasn't properly secured and bolted, leaving it vulnerable to future flooding. Without the proper connectors in place, the Hemendingers say their home could go "floating off."

They filed a complaint against the contractor who performed the work, Thomas Hart, of Lindenhurst. There are a total of nine Consumer Affairs complaints against Hart's company in Nassau and Suffolk.

With millions of people now affected by hurricanes Harvey and Irma, Nancy Hemendinger says it's a reminder of her own family's unresolved problems.

"My heart goes out to those people," she says. "I don't want them to go through what we went through. Days turn into weeks, then months and here we are, almost at the five-year mark."

An attorney for Hart’s company says the firm has done numerous Sandy-related home repairs without complaints. He says the company is working with the homeowners who did file complaints to resolve them.

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