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Home in West Pittston Demolished Following Flood Issues

WEST PITTSTON -- A historic home along the Susquehanna River in Luzerne County was torn down because of years of flooding problems.

Even though the demolition was a part of the government's Natural Disaster Prevention Program, neighbors are sad to see the old homes turn to dust.

Nancy and Joe Morris are taking a last look at their home overlooking the waterfront in West Pittston where they have shared laughter and love with their family for more than 50 years.

It's being demolished after decades of flooding problems including 2011 when flood waters came into the first floor of their home.

"It was a quite a process. The pool was filled with mud, the house was filled with mud," recalled Nancy Morris. "It's just a bad thing to go through."

The couple is now in their late 80s. They say there's no way they could go through another flood.

"We had to have a home to live in so we thought we thought we'd take whatever we got from this and buy another house. We had no choice, really," said Joe Morris.

As the cost of flood insurance continues to soar, up to $6,000 to $8,000 a year, according to the borough's consultant, the Morrises decided to take a buyout from FEMA.

The Morris' home was part of a pre-disaster mitigation program, essentially meaning that they signed up to sell their home and have it knocked down before another flood could happen.

"The national flood insurance program is very deep in debt and we can't continue to deal with that. Nature is changing and storms are more violent," said borough consultant James Brozena.

But neighbors were disappointed to see another home on their street torn apart.

"They're century-old homes up here. They're beautiful, they're part of West Pittston history and it's just sad to see them go," said neighbor Jean Croteau.

Now the Morrises live four blocks up from the house they used to call home.

"I don't think it's really dawned on me yet, even looking at it, but I think it will eventually come home to roost," said Joe Morris.

West Pittston's consultant tell us other homeowners near the river were told about the government's prevention program but of those who qualified, only two took the buyout.

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