Columbia, SC (WLTX) - A retired veteran returning home from being stationed overseas says his family home damaged by the 2015 October Flood was never repaired from the company he trusted to do the job.
Miguel Santana was stationed at Fort Jackson back in 2008 and bought his first home with his wife as a married couple.
"My wife back and I back in 2008, we were assigned to Fort Jackson and immediately upon arriving to Columbia, we fell in love with the city and the people," said Santana.
Two years later, Santana was relocated to Germany and Italy but planned on returning to Columbia after he retired.
Santana says before leaving the United States, he hired a property managing company to watch over and repair damage to his home while he was overseas.
"My house was one of the homes that took damage and was devastated with the flood of October 2015," said Santana.
Santana says he was in contact with the property managing company while he was away so they could start repairing his home from the flood damage.
"I never imagined as a veteran with three combat deployments and a Purple Heart recipient, I never imagined that a property manager and two contractors were going to take advantage of us. The contractors failed because they should have known better to pull a permit," said Santana.
Santana says he authorized nearly a hundred thousand dollars for repairs and restoration for the flood damage but he says he came home to find what work is done isn’t up to code.
Right now Santana says they can’t move back into their home. He is now working with Richland County for FEMA assistance. He does have flood insurance, but all the work will need to be redone and brought up to code since his home is in a flood plain and will need to be raised an additional foot.
The county is looking to prevent future homes being built in flood areas. The county says, “The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently authorized and awarded federal funding for two of Richland County’s applications, allowing the future acquisition of 29 flood risk properties in order to return them to County-maintained greenspaces. This property buyout program is funded through FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) allowing governments to implement approved long-term hazard mitigation measures that reduce damage to homes, businesses and infrastructure in the event of future disasters.”
The veteran says not going back into their home is tough for his family.
"My seven-year-old said 'Daddy, I want to come home. I love it. I love the lake. I love it.' But what do you say to a seven-year-old. ‘Son, I’m sorry. We can’t.’ I followed protocol: however, I wasn’t expecting the protocol of my property manager and contractors were going to take advantage of us," said Santana.
For the time being, Santana and his family are living in Florida while they wait on the result of their FEMA application and decide if they will move back into their home or stay in Florida near family.
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