NORTH ANDOVER (CBS) – Every day Victoria Fantasia comes to her North Andover home to pick up the mail, but doesn’t stay too long. “It’s so cold the thermostat says ‘lo’ now, it doesn’t even give you a temperature anymore,” Fantasia tells WBZ-TV.
The Fantasias are part of the two percent, the remaining 200 families in the Merrimack Valley still out of their homes because she hired local contractors, not Columbia Gas, who will finally install a new boiler and hot water heater next week.
“I heard stories about carbon monoxide problems, work done by subcontractors hired by the gas company and things did not fit properly or were pushed together to make them work,” she said.
Dealing with adjusters has also not been easy. There’s no stove that will now fit the custom opening in the kitchen so a contractor has to rebuild the island around it and Columbia Gas doesn’t like the price. “I don’t want someone not insured, not licensed or the cheap guy who fixes things,” Fantasia said. “I didn’t ask for any of this.”
The family was supposed to receive a red sticker officially condemning their appliances to get a reimbursement from Columbia Gas. The first crew that came through the home never game them one causing a delay potentially for weeks.
“They wouldn’t approve it without a sticker,” she said. “The adjuster says he needs to see pictures of the appliances with the stickers on them or they didn’t feel comfortable.”
The home has been winterized because the pipes might freeze, and there’s no guarantee with Christmas coming the town can hook up their water again quickly. It’s been stressful for the family, including 5-year-old Stella, who just wants to be home. “Her routine has changed, everything is different about our day to day,” she says.
Though she’s been fortunate to stay with family in the North Andover she wants to be home for Christmas but now doubts that will happen. “It’s not at our house, it’s not our Christmas ornaments, but it will do this year,” she says.