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Salem family en route to living in home after fuel spill

It’s been a long struggle, but a family in Salem said they’re on their way to getting their home back in shape after their basement was flooded by more than 230 gallons of heating fuel in 2007.

A contractor is starting to demolish the basement of the Demers family.

Michael Demers and his mother, Suzanne Demers, were forced to move into a mobile home set up on their front lawn because the house reeked of oil.

The Eagle-Tribune reported the family said an employee from Haffner’s fuel company overfilled their tank. A jury cleared the Lawrence company of negligence following a weeklong civil trial in 2011. Haffner’s said the home had a faulty tank and piping.

Michael Demers said the legal battle has exhausted his 69-year-old mother’s assets and they are having a tough time coming up with the thousands of dollars needed to fund the work. He said several contractors are donating labor and materials.

The Zoning Board of Adjustment recently granted the Demerses their sixth extension to fix the problems and get rid of the mobile home. The board decided the family must report the progress being made each month.

Demers said he’s fine with the decision. He said he just needs until the end of the year to pour a new concrete foundation and do other work needed to live in the home again.

“We are just trying to get it livable,” he said. “We would like to finally be home for Christmas after six years of this.”

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