DURYEA — The Lackawanna River is peaceful now, a far cry from one year ago when it raged over its banks, soaking Duryea.
Chittenden Street in the borough was evacuated when a nearby levee was breached.
“Well I’ll tell you, when we had to evacuate, it really took a big toll on us. We were nervous, we couldn’t think straight, knowing what we were going to do and coming home and what we were going to find,” said Gertrude Yachna.
One year later, Yachna is back in her home on Chittenden Street.
She had insurance and was helped by the Federal Emergency Management Agency after six feet of water filled her first floor. Yachna was out of her home for months. Everything is new there now and she said she is still trying to get used to it all.
“We’re getting there although it’s going to be a slow process, you know? Don’t forget we’re up in age. We’re 80 and when you’re 80 years old, you can’t cope like your 30’s and 40’s,” said Yachna.
Just a few houses down, Scott Moscatelli shows us the repairs he’s still doing at his home.
He’s doing the work himself and without insurance, it’s cost him more than $55,000 so far.
“Nobody thought it would be like it was and then it came. I mean even when we left, it was coming in the driveway and we still didn’t think when we came back that we would be in a boat on the street. It was surreal,” said Scott Moscatelli, of Chittenden Street.
At the corner of Chittenden and Elm Streets there used to be a home. It was torn down after the flood. People we spoke with said the face of their neighborhood has forever changed.
“We lost about half our neighbors. Two or three houses right across the street, they just put out the for sale sign and left. Our neighbors down to the right here came back, but we lost about eight families right in the immediate neighborhood that just left.” said Mike Finegan.
“I mean, you do what you have to to get through it and you move on, hope there’s not another one,” Moscatelli added.
The situation in Duryea led to a visit by Vice President Joe Biden last year and a promise for help.
It also led some angry property owners to file lawsuits against Duryea borough officials which some believe did not do enough to protect the borough.