Homeowners dealing with damage from plows

Posted at 12:09 AM, Nov 25, 2014
and last updated 2015-11-20 00:09:52-05

Western New Yorkers are in rebuilding mode, after all the damage caused by the lake effect snowstorms.

Not all the damage was caused by snowfall.  Some homeowners claim damage was done by people trying to clean up.

An otherwise sturdy chain link fence faltered outside John Williams' Cheektowaga home. It was damaged, he says, by an Erie County payloader coming down Dingens. Williams says it was clearing the street of all the snow.

"They were just clearing the whole street. They came up in here and on an angle right into the fence," Williams explained.

The weight of all the snow and the force of the equipment pushing it to the side seemed to do much more damage than first thought.

"This whole section is pushed forward, so to where the gate is pushed down. It doesn't even close," Williams said.

Many cars were damaged. Some were found days after the snow stopped. They were towed by Erie County crews to the Apple Tree Business Park.

"Some people are saying, well, you damaged my vehicle while towing. In all likelihood the damage did not come from towing. It happened in a car accident or being hit by a plow because they couldn't see it," County Executive Mark Poloncarz said.

Poloncarz said homeowners like Williams should contact insurance companies first, rather than the county for reimbursement. 

"If people are worried about their mailboxes, or they're worried about 'my car has a little bit of damage,' that's why you have insurance, truthfully," Poloncarz said.

Poloncarz suggests holding onto receipts, seeing as FEMA may pick up the tab for damage done during the storm.

For now, the county executive says his efforts are still focused on response rather than repayment.

Erie County is running through nearly $500,000 each day in crews and clean up. It's unclear what the actual economic impact will be.