‘It's been absolute hell’:
Pembroke family describes
ordeal since house began buckling
It started with a loud boom on Sunday morning a little after 6 a.m.
“Me and the wife heard it. The neighbors heard it. We just thought maybe the quarry was blasting or some stone fell off the quarry wall, and I went about my morning,” said Gene Nati, whose house has begun to sink on Scribner Road in Pembroke.
Nati’s son-in-law was leaving for a golf tournament around 6:45 a.m. when he found a crack in the driveway. Nati described the crack as “suspicious,” saying it stuck out since it had never been there before.
Still, he thought nothing of it, believing the ground had cracked a little bit from the summer. Going about his day and arriving home around 2:30 p.m., Nati’s youngest daughter said the hardwood floor was creaking and cracking as she walked on it, and his wife said the doors in the house weren’t shutting properly.
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“Another family member showed up and we walked around the house, checking out to see what was going on and we noticed the foundation was starting to buckle and crack,” he said. “We notified Genesee County dispatch, and they sent out the fire chief, the town code enforcement, town supervisor. At that time we also noticed a crack had started along the roadway, and our roadway was fairly new. It was on the same angle on the cracks in my yard.”
That’s when the highway superintendent said the road had started to buckle. Since then, the approach to Scribner Road has been closed to traffic.
Tim J. Yaeger, coordinator for Genesee County Emergency Services, said the Town of Pembroke has brought in a private contractor to do some core sampling — both in the roadway and around the home, which was built in 1987. The state Department of Conservation is involved with the permitting process with the quarry and is reviewing the data that the quarry has as well.
The results for the testing and data haven’t come back yet, but Pembroke Supervisor Thomas Schneider Jr. is hoping to have them in a day or two.
“The town supervisors and Town of Pembroke’s main objective is to try to find out what has caused (the house to sink), and if it’s a natural occurrence of the shifting of the soil, to restabilize the roadway — get it repaired and reopened — and assist the homeowner in however we can,” Yaeger said.
Firefighters have helped move emergency supplies and furniture out of the house into various trailers at the Natis’ friends and families houses.
Nati has needed to take off work. His oldest daughter’s family is staying with her in-laws, while Nati, his wife and youngest daughter are staying with one of his sisters temporarily until they can regroup and find an apartment.
“It’s been absolute hell,” Nati said. “In a matter of eight hours we went from a normal life waking up on a Sunday to literally homeless, living out of garbage bags full of clothes and personal supplies.”
Yaeger said there had been very minor movement on Monday evening, as there was another shift at the home and another window was cracked.
The house already has some damage to the drywall, the doors aren’t opening and closing properly, and stability problems are occurring throughout the home, Yaeger said. The issue begins and ends with the foundation’s stability.
As for the neighbors, Yaeger said based on what the town is reporting, there isn’t further cracking in the linear distance either way from the original damage.
“They are obviously hopeful there is no further movement to affect any other homes, but so far (the town supervisor) is reporting the only home that has actual damage is (Nati’s home),” he said.
Additionally, according to a Gofundme fundraiser started by Ken Krueger, within 18 hours of the Nati family filing the claim with their insurance company, the claim was denied. The family will receive nothing from insurance. All expenses are now coming directly out of pocket, according to the Gofundme.
“Gene is an active member of the community as a volunteer firefighter, local business owner and I know first hand that he is the kind of person who would give the shirt off his back to anyone in need whether they asked for it or not,” Krueger wrote. “I can’t think of a local family that would be more deserving of a little help right now.”
They are trying to raise $20,000 to help, and currently have reached over $9,000 as of writing this Tuesday. People can donate at https://gofund.me/dd97f386.
The house is described as a 2,052 square foot according to Genesee County tax records.
Nati would like to thank the Crittenden Fire Department, the Millgrove Fire Department, the Pembroke Fire Department, the Town of Batavia Fire Department, the Pembroke town supervisor, and the Pembroke highway supervisor for all their assistance.