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Rapid repair leaves some in disrepair

The Investigators on Eyewitness News on WABC-TV New York
February 15, 2013 1:28:46 PM PST
City-hired contractors have installed thousands of boilers into Sandy affected homes at no cost, but we've discovered in the city's haste to get families back in their homes, some rapid repair contractors have done shoddy and potentially dangerous work.

"I got zapped and they said that's not supposed to happen," Scott McGrath of Staten Island said.

The heating system is down in the basement, but not hooked up," Steven Sumner said.

"They've done more harm than good"," Howard Rosario of the Rockaways said.

"It's frustrating when you wake up and your house is cold," Tracey Freeo of Staten Island said.

Our investigation found, Rapid Repair in some case, operating more like Rapid Disrepair

HOFFER: "They put in the boiler but didn't hook it up to a thermostat?
FREEO: " No. Nobody ever went upstairs to hook up to that."

Steven Sumner has a new boiler, but no heat, Rapid Repair dropped off a new system, and then left.

SUMNER: "They delivered it, took it out of the box and put it down on the floor that was it."
HOFFER: "You should have heat by now."
SUMNER: "I should have had it months ago."

Harold Rosario has no heat either, even though Rapid Repair installed a new boiler in December:

"After they installed it and gave me heat one time, I had heat out of this twice, and that was it. That was it," he said.

Scott McGrath got so fed up with the sloppy work he fired Rapid Repair.

"Yes, I did. I did. I told them I didn't want them to do anymore work here," McGrath said.

Rapid Repair has helped 12-thousand homes since early November. one landlord in the Rockaways praises the program.

LANDLORD: "Everything is fine since they installed it."
HOFFER: "So Rapid Repair has really helped you."
LANDLORD: "Yes. I mean, I've been very fortunate."

But many have not benefited. How many is unclear. The Mayor's office says it has received 200 complaints. One if those is Roberta Klein: "They nearly burned down my house the work was so shoddy"

"They nearly burned my house down, the work was so shoddy," Roberta Klein of Bell Harbor Queens told us.

We will hear more about her close-call with Rapid Repairs on Friday night. A city-hired inspector signed off on hazardous electrical work that was in violation of city safety code.

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