WEST PITTSTON -- Next week marks five years since the flood of 2011. On Friday morning, U.S. Senator Bob Casey came to town to talk with flood victims and what it took to help them recover from the natural disaster from five years ago.
Casey, along with the mayor of West Pittston, toured areas affected by flooding in 2011. They noticed improvements made since then.
Judy Stevenson has been living in West Pittston her whole life. After the floods, it took her almost a full year to recover.
“I had seven feet on my first floor, and I’ve been flooded a number of times,” she said.
Many homes and businesses in West Pittston were hit hard. One of those places flooded was Agolino's Restaurant on Luzerne Avenue. It took months to reopen. Joseph Agolino owns the family restaurant. He appreciates the senator's visit, but knows there is still plenty of work to do.
“You can go up and down the streets. Right across the street, those houses are scheduled to be knocked down. Now the one at the end of the block, we got beat up really bad. Is it fully recovered? Far from it,” said Agolino.
A total of 800 homes in West Pittston were damaged by tropical storm Lee.
“You’re building a plane in flight. People are trying to get back to their homes, waiting for answers from the federal government, and it’s been tough,” said West Pittston Mayor Tom Blaskiewicz.
Five years later, there are still houses that haven't been rebuilt. Some are being knocked down. Residents showed the senator places that never recovered from that flood.
Senator Casey says the biggest challenge is finding ways to make sure a flood like what happened in 2011 doesn't happen again.
“We are going to continue to urge the Army Corp of Engineers to build a levee,” Casey said.
Casey believes the decision on building a levee for West Pittston will be made soon.