LYONS, N.Y. (WROC) — Power outages are inconvenient, but having no power for more than a month is borderline unthinkable in 2019.
Yet that’s what residents at Canalside Mobile Home Park have been dealing with since early July.
During one of the hottest weather stretches of our summer, tenants at the mobile home park were given two hours notice, via text message, that their power would be shut off, while their homes were stifling.
“The home is close to 95 I believe,” said resident Melissa Lehr. “And it’s been off for not even an hour. My concerns are for all the older people in the park and the kids that have health issues.
And a fix for power was out of residents’ hands, as the solution relied solely in the hands of the owner, Phil Provenzano.
“It’s up to Phillip Provenazno to fix it, and obviously he’s not doing anything to fix it,” said resident Shane McCafferty.
As temperatures climbed back into the 90s, residents were unable to run air conditioners or fans. Lehr’s trailer got so hot that her and her three children had to go live with a relative for the week.
“If they have relatives, they’re going to stay with them,” Lehr said. “Some people called the Red Cross and got told they couldn’t be helped. Other people are trying to borrow a generator. It’s definitely turned out world upside down in that crazy little trailer park.”
Power was shut of by New York State Gas and Electric after the Town of Lyons cited safety concerns and code enforcement violations. Exposed wiring and frayed lines were seen surrounded 25 to 30 of the park’s trailers.
Owner Provenzano vowed he would take action then. In a text message to News 8 reporter Christian Garzone he said:
“I am diligently working on this every second … each tenant has been offered to stay in a hotel and or stay at one of my other properties. Everybody has declined.”
Lehr, however, said she never received that offer.
“I kinda wanna cry at some point, I wanna yell at somebody. I want the person to take action and be responsible for what they’re supposed to,” said Lehr.
Many of those who reside at the park left their homes to got to hotels, but because of the expenses, some had no choice but to go home — back to their homes with no power.
Residents said the only progress made was when work started days prior, but then stopped.
“They really ain’t doing nothing other than digging holes and making it look like they’re doing something,” said resident Tiffany Tuner.
“They worked about an hour, took off and haven’t seen them since,” McCafferty said. “I’m about $1,000 in the hole with hotel rooms, I bought a $300 generator, and probably $300 in gas so far,” said McCafferty.
These mobile homes are all too old to move off the lot.
At least one person has decided to stop paying rent and file a lawsuit against park owner Phil Provenzano.
Provenzano told News 8 not to call him again for comment.
After 11 days of no power, residents were still searching for answers.
Officials say New York State Electric and Gas did install a new utility pole and wires, but the media representative for NYSEG says repairs to the infrastructure within the park need to be made by the park’s owner.
The owner, Provenzano, again asked not to be reached for comment.
Although visible work was seen taking place to make repairs to get the power back on, other issues began surfacing — sewage issues.
A resident who spoke to News 8 says they had their own waste get discharged under their home for two months every time the toilet was flushed. The problem was never fixed, even after making management aware multiple times. The raw sewage, coupled with not having power in the high heat, drove the resident to become temporarily homeless. They are considering filing a lawsuit.
In a statement, the State Health Department says they are “aware of the complaint relating to sewage at the park, and (we are) working with the operator to resolve the issue in a timely fashion.”
Richard Bogan, the Lyons Code Enforcer, also confirmed the existence of the exposed sewage. He said the owner of the park has made a “commitment to get the power on in the park by July 30th.” Additionally, there can be no community generator installed because it would need to connect to the current power source, which is unsafe.
Provenzano, again asked not to be reached for comment.
Nearly three weeks later and there’s still no power at a Wayne County mobile home park, and with temperatures reaching back into the 90s, it made life difficult for residents.
Lyons Town Supervisor Jake Emmel says there’s been years of electrical problems that have plagued the Canal Side Mobile Home Park on Old Lyons Road, namely naked power lines, old equipment, and power surges. It was not an easy decision to cut the power.
“It was a safety situation, if a fire broke out, somebody could’ve gotten killed. Then somebody’s in real big trouble,” says Emmel.
Emmel says it’s up to the owner, Phil Provenzano, to make repairs within park. In the meantime, the town and school are helping residents with humanitarian support until power is back.
“I don’t know how fast they’re working. We’ll still take the water out, the school will still take the snacks out, and we’ll get them some gas for their generators. I think we will continue doing what we’re doing and helping when we can. You know it’s just the right thing to do. You have to help,” Emmel says.
Two state lawmakers reached out to new York Attorney General Leticia James and asked her to look into the dire situation at the Canalside Mobile Home park in Lyons.
Tenants were being told via texts they are still expected to pay rent for the month — or face eviction.
Senator of the 54th district, Pamela A. Helming and assemblyman of the 130th district, Brian Manktelow, requested immediate attention to the situation, noting that the tenants deserve answers.
Provenzano’s July 30 deadline of power restoration came and went and yet residents were still left in the dark.
“It’s one of the most severe cases I’ve heard of in many, many years,” said Manktelow
Provenzano supplied paperwork showing the park has had problems going back to 1979. The Lyons Code Enforcer says either way, Provenzano is the owner and needs to make repairs.
“He (Provenzano) really needs to make things happen quickly. He has a responsibility to those tenants. They pay their rent, trusting that he’s going to provide the services that he’s supposed to. And these individuals are having a tough time out there,” says Manktelow.
Manktelow says he had the chance to speak to Attorney General Letitia James in person about the Canalside Park.
“Between the Senator, myself and the [Attorney General’s] office, we’re here to help those individuals, and I know she [James] is here to help also,” Manktelow said. “If we move forward with this, anything that they need, she’ll help them with, and I do know that. And I’ll be in contact with her staff continually to make sure that happens.”
Manktleow said based off the residents he’s spoken with, they should not be evicted. He says these services are required by law from the owner and are not being provided.
It’s now been more than one month since a mobile home park in Wayne County lost power.
Just to put that in perspective, after the 1991 Ice Storm most customers had power restored within two weeks.
“So the AGs office is just one of the state’s agencies that we’ve reached out to for assistance. So the AGs office is reviewing the situation and they’ll make a determination on whether to do an investigation or not,” said Helming.
“The priority is to get that electric turned back on but giving them a place to call home, a little bit of pride there as well,” said Manktelow. “And also not only helping them but helping the park owner. The park owner, as Senator Helming just said, there are grants out there, maybe to help him to better that park and that’s our goal is to help him as well.”
Both lawmakers are asking anyone who needs assistance or who wants to share their story to reach out to their offices.
More than one month later, residents remain without power and there is still no updated timeline on when their utilities will be restored.