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5 on Your Side: Woman stuck in middle of squabble over damage

10:03 PM, Sep 3, 2013   |    comments
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By Mike Rush

ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - Two big companies are involved in one big mess and stuck in the middle is a Hazelwood woman at her wit's end over unaddressed damage to her home.

That is until Five on Your Side's Mike Rush came calling.

"This is the problem pole," Susan Zwygart said.

The utility pole is a problem for a couple of reasons, one, it's broken in Zwygart's back yard, two, it's been there for nearly a month.

The mess materialized on a garbage day when a Republic Services truck was making its rounds on Zwygart's street.

"Here's how it happened according to the police report. The garbage truck was traveling along the street when it snagged on a utility line. That snapped the pole which fell on top of a neighbor's house across the street. The tension traveled all the way across to Susan's yard where it snapped a pole there.

"It hit the corner of the house up here," she said, "It tore my gutters, tore my siding, broke my window in my bathroom, damaged a tree."

Zwygart contacted Republic Services and the utility companies with lines on the pole.

"I've been very stressed because I keep getting bounced around. I never get an answer from anybody," she said.

So Five on Your Side's Mike Rush started calling around and the day after Mike's visit to Zwygart's house, he got AT&T to remove the broken pole.

But the bigger problem was the damage to the house. After a few phone calls, Mike narrowed down the possible culprits to Republic Services, whose driver was involved in the accident, and Charter, who admitted to Mike that the utility line that was snagged was theirs.

Charter blames Republic Services, claiming the garbage truck's "lifts" were up causing the cable wire to be ripped down. Republic Services disagrees, claiming a drooping utility line, a common and dangerous problem it says, was to blame.

While Charter wouldn't budge to help Zwygart, Republic Services, as a good-will gesture and admitting no guilt, gave her one thousand dollars, the amount of her deductible on her homeowners insurance claim.

"I didn't have the 1000 dollars, so my  house was just going to be sitting there and you definitely did this for me," Zwygart said.  "I can't thank you enough."


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