A Staten Island family was devastated after a contractor hired by the city to make repairs in their Sandy-damaged home left a giant hole on the side of their house.
The contractor was hired by the city's Rapid Repairs program to fix a bathroom pipe and the heat in the South Beach home. Kathy Barzal and her husband and son have been living in a small apartment for the last four months since Sandy made the home uninhabitable.
Barzal said initially she was thrilled when the contractor showed up at the home Wednesday.
"I was like great, this is wonderful. It's going to get done," she said.
But Barzal's excitement was short-lived. The contractor did make the necessary repairs to the pipe, but in the process created a massive hole, approximately 8 feet wide and 3 feet tall, leaving the home exposed to the elements.
"I was in shock," Barzal said. "I asked him why, to fix the heat inside the house, was he going through the outside. He said it was better than breaking the tile and easier and he didn't want to break the tile."
The contractor told the stunned Barzal that she would have to pay another contractor to have the hole repaired.
With bills piling up since the storm, Barzal was outraged to have another cost to deal with, especially one that was man-made.
"This is our first home we bought," Barzal said, wiping away tears. "This is what we worked for. This is the American dream, right?"
After dozens of calls, and help from Rep. Michael Grimm, the wall was finally patched up Friday morning free of charge. A supervisor with Rapid Repair came to the home and explained that the contractor should never have left the hole in the first place.
While Barzal says she's relieved to have the hole repaired, her and her family still have a long way to go before their lives can return to normal.
"We have not seen a dime of flood insurance and we had flood insurance. We haven't seen any money," Barzal said. "We're hanging on by a thread."