Father who lost daughter to flooding in Orange County fights order to vacate home

7 On Your Side helps Ed Nugent get his house re-inspected after the state issued a vacate order

Nina Pineda Image
Thursday, July 20, 2023
Father who lost daughter to dangerous flooding faces 2nd blow
An anguished father whose daughter was killed in the Orange County floods was dealt a second blow, the added frustration of fearing he might have to vacate his home. 7 On Your Side's Nina Pineda helped him get his house re-inspected.

HIGHLAND FALLS, New York (WABC) -- An anguished father whose daughter was killed in the Orange County floods was dealt a second blow, the added frustration of fearing he might have to vacate his home.

7 On Your Side's Nina Pineda spoke to Ed Nugent as he was holding "Minnie," the family's Newfoundland who survived the flood as both the dog and Pamela Nugent stepped off their porch and onto Mine Dock Road. Ed Nugent said he never saw his daughter again.

"It was like watching someone fall off a cliff, she was gone," Nugent said.

He lost his wife in 2021 and has three properties on the same road that became a river last week. They were all deemed unsafe and marked with red "do not enter" placards.

"I rumpled it up and threw it right in their face," Nugent said.

State inspectors say his house is in danger of collapsing and tried to say it was uninhabitable, but Nugent is fighting that and says he wants to stay home.

"They'll have to get the cops if they want me to leave," he said. "These people were not engineers. They knew nothing about structure or building or anything, and they're coming up here and telling me my house is unsafe. I'm a home builder, I know footings and foundations."

He is, in fact, a certified green or "passive" home builder, and Nugent's company has built dozens of eco-conscious homes. Despite the backyard being washed away, he says the solid concrete foundation is intact.

7 On Your Side began inquiring if there could be a re-inspection. The very next day, the supervisor was there first thing in the morning and the town engineer came out for a second look at the state's assessment.

Highland Falls Town Engineer John O'Rourke said it is unusual to reinspect, but as long as the work makes the house safe to live in, at least temporarily, they can lift the red flag and Nugent can officially live back in his house. That's exactly what happened.

Also, that same day, volunteers and strangers had boots on the ground in Fort Montgomery.

Pastor Mark Russell came from Lancaster.

"We heard about it on the national news," he said. "Our heart goes out when people suffer like this."

The help was organized by the Fuller Center for Greater New York, which 7 On your Side contacted.

It turns out that they charity knew Pamela and Ed, both who had been volunteering at the non-profit for years.

"I'm going to cry. First of all, he's just an amazing person," Fuller Center for Greater New York CEO Jim Killoran said.

The affordable home rebuilder also informed Nugent that they renamed their new condo project in Chappaqua, 'Pamela's Passive Homes' to honor her legacy and commit to green architecture and engineering.

"This is giving back to Ed, it's continuing Pam's life," Killoran said.

"That made me smile," Nugent said. "That's beautiful, very sweet, Pam would like that. Important for my nephews and grandkids to know about her life."

Aside from helping to keep Pam's memory alive, the volunteers say they will be on the ground until the work is done.

The Fuller Center team needs supplies, donations and more volunteers to help flood victims. Find out how you can help by visiting their website.



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