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Owens visits flooded region of Malone

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Owens visits flooded region of Malone
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While water continues to flow down Lower Park Street in Malone due to a 3,000 foot ice jam, state and national lawmakers are offering their help in trying to prevent the flooding from happening again. Congressman Bill Owens toured the area Wednesday. Barry Wygel was there and has more.

MALONE, N.Y. -- Ronnie Benware operates a home for the elderly on Lower Park Street, something he's done for the past 20 years. That home, along with eight others, were evacuated last week due to the flooding.

"Each day, they call and say 'Can we come home?' Right now, we don't know when and if they can ever come home," said Ronnie Benware, a Malone homeowner.

Benware says homeowners in the area are beginning to face the fact that the damage may be beyond repair.

"With all the river, with the water flowing every well on at least 12 of these homes are going to be contaminated and unusable," said Benware.

Congressman Owens visited the flood-ravaged area Tuesday in hopes of preventing a future flood.

"The visual is shocking," said Rep. Bill Owens.

Local officials and residents say they have known about the potential for major flooding for years and have reached out to the state DEC and the Army Corps of Engineers, but have not received any help.

"The Army Corps of Engineers refused really to do anything. They said it's not feasible. They said it's not cost productive," said Benware.

Congressman Owens says it's really going to be a collaborative effort between all the parties involved to try and make sure this situation doesn't happen again.

"We'll reach out to Brookfield Power, National Grid, to DEC and to the Army Corps, coordinate those actions with Senator Little and Assemblywoman Duprey and make sure we're getting this done for the people that live here," said Owens.

But for some, it may be too late.

"Ninety percent of the homes are going to be completely destroyed or probably non re-fixable," said Benware.

Most of the displaced residents are living with family members and one family being taken care of by the Red Cross.

Emergency officials say they are just waiting for warmer weather for the ice to begin to clear, then they can begin to assess the amount of damage.

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