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Park residents get hit twice

RICE TWP. – Looking at the damage her trailer park suffered from the tornado that felled trees on Friday, Brenda Aton had a depressing judgment to make: Was the damage worse from the tornado or the storm on Nov. 16 that flooded out about 14 homes and washed property down the Big Wapwallopen Creek?

She decided the flood, which ruined the underside of her single-wide mobile home, was worse for her family, but the tornado, which crushed at least five homes with fallen trees, caused more damage at the Valley Stream Mobile Park.

“Two weeks ago it was the flood; now it’s this. This is craziness,” she said.

In relation to her neighbor, whose home was split in half and who was trapped when a towering pine tree crashed through it, Aton received little damage. Only one tree hit the back of the house, causing “dings and dents and holes,” she said. “Mine is minor … compared to what’s around me.”

Aton is gearing up for what might become a legal battle with her insurance company.

Aton said that when she bought the home and rented the lot in 2000, it hadn’t flooded in four years. Since the remnants of Hurricane Ivan blew through in 2004, it has flooded six times. She’s not sure who’s to blame for the increase, whether it’s upstream development as a township official suggested or stream banks that have washed away, but she feels someone is responsible.

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