Frustration as tornado-damaged houses remain untouched

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Nearly three years have passed since a devastating tornado came through western Massachusetts. In West Springfield’s Merrick section, most homes that were damaged have either been repaired or completely rebuilt, but some damaged structures still stand un-repaired, and that is irritating neighbors.

Homes and businesses were destroyed, but on this 3 year anniversary, people are still hard at work getting their lives back to normal. 22News talked to West Springfield’s Skip Demerski, who is unfortunately still struggling to get compensated from his insurance company. He’s doing his his own work on his home and business.

Demerski said, “We thought things would’ve moved along a lot quicker when we haven’t been able to go into business full-time yet because we’re using our assets, labor-wise and money-wise, to remedy all the situations here.”

Neighborhood resident Pat Scafuri told 22News that he understands that it can take some time before everything clears with insurance companies, but he still thinks three years is a long time for a property to remain dilapidated.

“I would hope something would’ve been done. I know that it takes a while to deal with the insurance companies but you’d think after 3 years, the city would step in and say ‘why are these properties not fixed yet?’” said Scafuri. “It decreases your property value, you know, you keep your house up, and then all of a sudden you go around the corner and you see two houses that are just in shambles.”

He told 22News that he is hopeful perhaps the town will step forward to deal with these damaged properties.

While there are a number of properties that still need work, sadly, there are families suffering permanent devastation. Two people lost their lives just in West Springfield that year.

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