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Long Island Homeowners Say Insurance Won't Cover Flooding From Melting Snow

SHOREHAM, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Some homeowners in Shoreham, Long Island remained homeless Thursday, a day after melting snow banks flooded their homes so badly that the homes had to be condemned.

As CBS2's Jessica Schneider reported, the homeowners blame a sod farm behind their houses, where they say 15 feet of snow piled up and melted – leading to the flood. And on Thursday, one family learned that their insurance company will not cover anything.

"The force of the water hit the window with such a fierce force it exploded; imploded all the glass," said homeowner Mike Harding. "The shards went flying into the walls.

Long Island Homeowners Say Insurance Won't Cover Flooding From Melting Snow

Harding as of Thursday was still surveying the damage the floodwaters did to his basement. The damage to his and another home down the block were so severe that both had to be condemned by the local fire marshal.

All utilities to the homes were shut off.

It all started on Wednesday. Dramatic cellphone video showed three feet of floodwaters rushing into the homes.

On Thursday, Harding's wife got the bad news that their insurance company would not cover their losses.

"They couldn't help us," said Tracie Harding. "They just came in and said, 'Sorry,' and we're left with everything."

"They're saying it's just regular standing water that, you know, actually caused the tsunami, and it wasn't," Mike Harding added. "It was a pool that was building up back there from the negligence of the Town of Brookhaven and DeLalio Sod Farm."

The Brookhaven Highway Department said it did all it could to divert the wall of water that had been building up on the neighboring sod farm property by using a bulldozer to dig a ditch. Highway Department Deputy Supt. Anthony Gallino denied the Hardings' claims that town plows created a huge snowbank.

"No, we did not pile any snow anywhere," Gallino said. "As a matter of fact, we had to dig 200 feet into the sod farm to relieve the water and get it to run out to our roadway."

Gallino said under town law, the sod farm is responsible for any water running off its property. The owners of the DeLalio Sod Farm hung up on CBS2 twice before saying the owner would have no comment.

The Hardings said without insurance, they cannot afford to gut their basement and do the repairs necessary to get the condemnation notice lifted. Thus, they are left homeless.

"Our kids are all over the place," Tracie Harding said. "People pick them up, because we just have nowhere else to go; nowhere for them to go."

The Hardings said they did not have flood insurance because they live very far from any body of water, and have never experienced flooding before.

They said they are preparing to sue if no one takes responsibility for the flood waters.


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