Pierrefonds resident's return to his dank, wet home is bittersweet

Itsik Romano returned to his Pierrefonds home for the first time Thursday morning. Aside from the smell, it wasn't as bad as he'd feared, but he and his family face major repairs before they can move back in.

Itsik Romano finds damage isn't as bad as he feared, but cherished mementos are lost, renovations loom

Itsik Romano gestures at the floodwater that has taken over his Pierrefonds neighbourhood. He visited his home today for the first time since he was forced to leave over the weekend. (Shari Okeke/CBC)

Itsik Romano had no idea what would be waiting for him when he returned to his flooded Pierrefonds home for the first time in days.

When he finally walked up the steps and through the door of his house on Maçons Street Thursday morning, he found the house didn't look as bad as he'd feared it would.

What he noticed first was the smell — musty, wet and sewage-tinged.

"Disgusting," he said.

Romano, his wife Kim Bronstein and their four children are among dozens of Pierrefonds-Roxboro residents forced out of their homes due to flooding. They're staying with friends for now.

The water has receded in his neighbourhood, but still, Romano didn't sleep last night, wondering what lay in store.

Itsik Romano's kids didn't have much time to choose which toys they wanted to bring with him. (Facebook/Itsik Romano)
When he arrived, he found his kids' toys still strewn across the living room floor, abandoned there as, in a panic, they'd chosen other playthings to make the journey with them to their temporary home.

Towels left to absorb the water in the basement lay soaked on the floor. Romano said it seems like mould growth is imminent, if it hasn't started already.

The water marks left on a wooden shelf in the garage indicate that water had pooled knee-high before the flood abated. Romano said he believes he will need to tear out his basement and garage, renovate and replace everything.

He is critical of the city's response to the flooding, saying he hasn't seen any city employees in his area and neither have his neighbours.
Bronstein, who showed up at the house later Thursday with their youngest in tow, said family photos, toys and other cherished mementos have all been lost.

They're grateful to their friends for offering them a place to say, but Bronstein said she knows they're imposing — still, she's hoping the arrangement works out for just a little while longer.

The problem is that while the water has receded from their home, outside, everything is still wet.

"If we want to try to clean up, we have to move everything outside, and outside is wet," Romano explained.

He forecasts it will be at least another month at least before they can return for good.

With files from Shari Okeke