Damaged Properties Remained Untouched, 3 Months After Tornado

By: Jared Cerullo Email
By: Jared Cerullo Email

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Three months after the April 14 tornado in Wichita, some residents of one neighborhood hit hard by the storm are concerned because two structures that were seriously damaged have not yet been repaired. The property owner says her hands have been tied by legal red tape.

The mobile home and garage sit in the 11400 block of East 1st Street. The home was flipped over by the tornado and sits on its top while the garage is barely standing and has lost its roof. Neighbor Teresa Burks says worries that curious young children will end up hurt or the homes will become infested with rodents.

"Other than the weeds growing up three-four feet, it's pretty much the same as it was the night of the tornado," said Burks.

Both structures are owned by Jean Houston, who lives in Missouri. Houston says she's been struggling for months to get the mess cleaned up, but she's been delayed a series of roadblocks.

Two months ago, Houston hired someone to clear away the debris. That man signed a contract with her through her attorney to complete the work. Two days after he started the work, neighbors told Houston he stopped showing up. Now he can't be located.

Houston says her attorney had to file paperwork to legally dissolve the contract and give the worker notice before she could move forward and hire a replacement. Now, she's completed that process and has hired a new worker who has agreed to finish the job. He is scheduled to resume the clean up in just over a week.

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