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Engineers, geologists investigate cracks in the ground and foundation of home in Pembroke

The process got underway Monday in Pembroke as engineers, town and county officials, and the State DEC compared notes and ideas as to what may be behind it.

PEMBROKE, N.Y. — A technical and scientific investigation is underway in a Genesee County community to find out why large cracks are appearing in the ground and the foundation of at least one expert and officials in the town of Pembroke are trying to figure out how this might impact other homes as well.

The assessment process got underway Monday along Scribner Road in Pembroke as engineers, town and county officials, and the State DEC compared notes and ideas as to what may be behind it all. They are finding cracks in the ground, diagonal cracks in the actual road surface, and perhaps most concerning - cracks in the foundation of the ten-year-old home owned by Gene Nati.

Asst. Chief Alan Piasecki of the Crittenden Volunteer Fire Department told 2 On Your Side, "The back wall is actually caving in. It started caving in yesterday. We did go down in the basement earlier and the main beam is actually starting to twist. So that's not good."    

Also not good according to Piasecki, "Unfortunately it don't look like he's gonna be able to be covered by insurance. So - I mean it's just a terrible thing - you can't. It's hard to believe in this day and age that they don't offer insurance." 

Nati and his family of seven including grandchildren hastily evacuated Sunday with the help of neighbors and others with a posted occupancy warning now on the front door. 

Piasecki says, "He called us and we helped him move a lot of his personal items out of the house and everything yesterday and try to secure what we could."

Now another neighbor across the street - who did not want to be directly on camera said, "I have fresh cracks in my driveway and then today I came out and they're telling me you know that the front of my lawn is sinking. There's a sinkhole. There's cracks and who knows where we go from there. You know...is it gonna get worse? Is it gonna go further to the house? Kinda need some answers - you know. This is my investment, my retirement, my life, and when you don't know...."

As for potential causes to be explored are questions about blasting from a nearby quarry and even the very dry spell of weather. 

Pembroke Town Supervisor Tom Schneider told us, "This area is naturally wet a lot of time of the year. So my understanding of sinkholes is the water goes down because we are in a drought. I guess the analogy is a water bed. You know the water will hold the land up and so that's where the engineer is leaning - is that the water went somewhere." 

Schneider says he will also have his engineer consult with the operators of the nearby quarry even though they do not think there is a link. He points out the quarry firm has sensitive equipment that could detect something like a minor earthquake. 

"They have seismographs down the road - probably a mile. And it should have picked it up. And there was nothing out of the ordinary."

Schneider says the town hired a consultant who is an engineer with a background in geology and will report back on what else they determine. He hopes that can assist the Nati family.  

There have also been talks about bringing in UB geologists to study the area and those mysterious cracks. He did add that some residents say there was a similar problem with cracks in the ground appearing in the same area 40 years ago but that could not be confirmed with any definite cause.     


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