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Neighborhood basements flooded with sewage

A break in a sewer line at the Yellowstone Avenue construction site flooded the basements of homes along one Pocatello neighborhood.

Travis Gregory is one of the residents on the 1400 block of Pershing Avenue whose basement was flooded with the raw sewage.

He said the incident happened on Tuesday, June 24 in eight of the homes on that same block.

“My wife called me while I was at work and she had told me that our basement was completely flooded with what she thought was just water at the time,” Gregory said. “About the time I had gotten here we found out we had seven of our neighbors who had the same thing happening. She was devastated.”

The Gregory family was advised to stay in a hotel overnight, and said the city assured the neighborhood it would cover the cost of the cleanup.

However, some of the neighbors who preferred to not go on camera, say they want the city to also cover the cost of the damage.

Gregory and most of his neighbors all say the city has been mostly silent through this past week, not communicating when or even if they will be out to clean up the damage.

Russell and his wife Cleone Parr have lived in that neighborhood since 1960. Cleone will turn 97 years old on Friday, and the couple struggles with the laborious house and yard work they still tend to, so cleaning up the sewer mess is a struggle.

Like the Gregory family, the Parr’s are just two of the neighbors on that block who have had to hire private cleaning companies to come in and do the work the city promised.

However, city attorney Kirk Bybee said none of this is true. He said the city’s WPC sewer personnel and claims adjuster already went out and took a look a the damage that was done.

Bybee said those who hired private cleaning companies did not want to go through the city.

But, right now the big issue is who is to be held responsible for the mess.

The city said the Parsons contracting company is responsible for the damage, and if the city can prove the company is the responsible party, they will be reimbursed for the cleaning costs.

Bybee said the city is acting under the “good neighbor” policy and offering to help with the cleanup, even though the city is not responsible to do so.

“Being upset at the city is misdirected,” Bybee said. “It’s a bad situation for those whose homes were flooded and the city was at the scene immediately to work on the cleanup. Our thought process here is to clean-up first and ask questions later.”

Local News 8 reporters placed a call to the company on Thursday for confirmation, but the company has not returned our calls.

Gregory said the process has been frustrating since the city has some great employees, but the communication has been poor, if not absent.

He, along with many of the other neighbors, have all said they plan on banning together to help each other out and appreciates the support from the rest of the community thus far.

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