Months later, some Lancaster homes still in need of tornado repair




Posted on June 18, 2012 at 6:40 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 19 at 3:13 AM

LANCASTER - Victims of the tornado that hit April 3 never imagined the damage to the homes would keep them in a hotel for nearly three months.

"It's depressing," Tessie Woodard said. "It's just frustrating, you know, being out of your house since the day of the tornado."

Woodard said her home sustained roof damage, and water damage to the ceilings. She thought it would be a quick fix.

"I would've thought three or four weeks, we could have been back in the house, or at least started the work," she said.

But it took contractors nine weeks after the storm to get started.

"I was told city inspectors with Lancaster were back logged with getting inspectors out to examine homes," Woodard said.

But News 8 checked with Lancaster officials, and they gave permits to the contractors to start work. So the hold up is somewhere between the contractors and insurance company.

Other storm victims are struggling with neighbors who have moved on, but left their totaled homes standing.

"It's an eyesore, y'know, and just for homeowners not taking initiative to do what's right - y'know, get it tore down," said homeowner Sandra Morgan.

She said the damage is a reminder of the devastation they're trying to recover from.

The City of Lancaster says out of 350 damaged homes, inspectors issued 312 permits to allow for repair work, but there are 40 homes lingering in limbo.

They need to be demolished, and city officials have started legal proceedings to do just that.

"We are really trying to pull the community together," Morgan said.

The homes should be demolished in 90 days, and property owners will face a lien for abandoning the homes.

In the meantime, Woodard is looking forward to not calling a hotel home.

"It's been rough," she said.

Woodard and her diabetic son have about three more weeks until repairs will be finished, which will make it three months since the tornado took them out of their home.