NEPTUNE TOWNSHIP - A Neptune Township resident says that he is still not able to return to his home, nearly two years after a home heating oil delivery mishap.
Home heating oil company Globe Petroleum out of Red Bank mistakenly pumped the oil into Henry Etienne’s home in 2013. Etienne’s home was outfitted for heating oil at one time, but was converted to gas heat decades earlier. The oil was pumped directly into his basement.
The oil was supposed to be delivered to a home two blocks away. A cleanup crew was able to suck out some of the oil from the basement. But the floors are still stained, and strong oil fumes still permeate the house.
Etienne has been out of the home since the mishap, and must also pay rent at the other residence he is staying at. He tells News 12 New Jersey he has to work two jobs to pay for everything.
“Financially it’s ruined my life,” says Etienne. “I’m still out of my house. I have to pay my mortgage and insurance for that house.”
Etienne’s attorney Stuart Lieberman says that they are planning on suing Globe Petroleum because the oil seeped through cracks in the basement floor into the soil and groundwater underneath.
“Once it’s in the groundwater, the cost of the cleanup magnifies exponentially,” says Lieberman. “This house is probably going to need to be knocked down.”
In a statement to News 12 New Jersey, Globe Petroleum owner Joseph Mazzucca says, "This is in the hands of the insurance company. Typically these things are handled quickly, so I'm not sure what the bottleneck is. It's odd that it would linger as it usually costs more the longer they wait."
The oil company's insurance company hired Response Environmental Inc. of Pennsylvania to handle the cleanup. The Chief Operating Officer there says he cannot comment about the status.