Nearly five months after a raging fire destroyed the Toce Brothers tire warehouse in Torrington, many neighboring homes have been cleaned up and repaired.
But Tara Holmberg says her home is uninhabitable.
“It’s coated with oil and tar and things from the fire; the soil is also contaminated,” said Holmberg, who lived directly next door to the warehouse at 94 Albert Street for nine years before being evacuated during the fire on April 3.
She hasn’t been back since.
The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, responded with a statement that reads, in part, “After assessing conditions resulting from the fire… there did not appear to be any significant health risks in the area.”
Holmberg, a two-time cancer survivor and asthmatic, is not convinced. She’s waiting on the results of environmental site testing ordered by her own insurance company.
In the meantime, she’s living elsewhere, but is still paying a $1,400 monthly mortgage on the 94 Albert Street house.
Representing Holmberg, Attorney Rachel Baird says O&G Industries, the warehouse owner, should be held responsible, but won’t respond to their requests for help.
“We believe that O&G, as the next door property owner, and or Toce Brothers, should buy this property and take it off my client’s hands,” said Baird.
One neighbor on nearby Wilson Avenue didn’t want to give his name, but said his insurance company told him to contact O&G after denying his claim for damages.
”Yeah they [O&G] wouldn't give us an answer. They always said we'll call you back, it's still under investigation, and I just gave up,” he said.
The Torrington Fire Marshal says the official cause of the fire was undetermined, and the case was closed.
O&G has not returned a request for comment.