MILFORD, Mich. (WXYZ) - When Kari Nugent purchased an old farmhouse a couple years ago, she had dreams of rehabbing the 176-year-old home. She moved in with her six small rescue dogs and finally secured a restoration loan to make repairs, but that's when she says a contractor who was so reckless with demolition that they sent asbestos throughout the entire house.
"They didn't seem to have much concern about what they were actually working with," said Nugent of the contractor's crew that wanted to continue the demolition work in the living room despite what she says was a previous warning that asbestos were present in a certain area.
The vermiculite insulation in the old home is what is filled with asbestos and it was supposed to be removed by Greene Environmental, a professional remediation company, prior to it being disturbed.
But Nugent says disastrous demolition of the area has now turned the remediation job that should have cost a few thousand dollars into one that will now cost $20,000 to make the home habitable again. And it's money she just doesn't have.
Nugent was only able to leave her home with her dogs and the clothes on her back.
Dust and debris "contaminated the HVAC system and the entire house essentially," said Nugent who reportedly warned the crew that they needed to get out of the house immediately once she realized what the danger that was now present all around them.
Nugent, a veterinarian, rushed her six dogs out of the house and to her clinic, Unleashed Pet Care in Westland, where they bathed the dogs, trying to remove the contaminated dust that could have affected their already weakened conditions.
Nugent volunteers in cases where animals are in need of rescue. And Nugent's dogs, that were rescued from puppy mills and other neglect or cruel situations, are fragile and have special diets to help meet their medical needs.
The owner of the construction company, Emerick Keith Barich IV, is refusing to cover the cost of the asbestos cleanup, according to Nugent and an attorney now representing her in a lawsuit against Kemerick Construction LLC. that is not expected to be resolved anytime soon.
"I'm not asking for anything else other than to take responsibility for the damage that you caused and to just clean up the mess," said Nugent.
Barich, 48, declined to comment when reached Action News reached him by phone.
Several people say they have seen the Royal Oak man driving despite the Secretary of State indicating that Barich's driver's license expired in 2012 after racking up a stack of suspensions and committing drunk driving offenses. His driver's license was reportedly revoked twice by the state.
Nugent's attorney has also filed a lawsuit against Farm Bureau Insurance. The insurance company has denied her claim, indicating that the damage caused is not a covered loss.
Faye Voorman, a client and friend of Nugent's, has welcomed Nugent and her six little dogs into her family's home while Nugent tries to figure out how to afford getting her house habitable again for her and her pets.
Humbling. That's how Nugent describes the entire situation that has moved her to rely on family, friends, and strangers who have helped her with some of the basics in rebuilding her life.
Most of Nugent's belongings and household items will now have to be properly contained and disposed.
And the clock is ticking for Nugent to get the remediation done.
Nugent was approved for a restoration loan to help repair the historic home, but the money cannot be used to cover the asbestos cleanup and it must be used within six months.
"I just wanted to be able to give back to her," said Voorman. "She's saved so many animals, animals that people give up on with broken legs or other things wrong with them. And how can I give up on someone who never gives up on our little furry friends?"
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