Honey Brook family is hanging on after accident destroys their home
By J. Chambless
John and Tiffany Rissler, with two of their children, Lydia and Alicia, in front of their condemned home in Honey Brook on July 8.
By John Chambless
As a heat wave baked Chester County over the past week, John Rissler could at least be thankful for the air conditioning in the motel room that is home for nine members of his family through the end of the month.
But everything else is looking very grim.
John and Tiffany Rissler have been on a downward spiral since the evening of June 29, when a truck entered the Brandywine Terrace mobile home park in Honey Brook to deliver pipes for a well. The driver clipped a low-hanging utility wire, bringing down two poles – one which fell to the ground, and the other one which was sheared off above the ground and landed on the Rissler's trailer. The oil inside the transformer leaked down through the hole in the roof, soaking everything in the room, including the family's clothes.
A subsequent inspection led to the trailer being condemned. The Risslers were homeless as of July 6. On July 8, when John and Tiffany and two of their four children, Lydia and Alicia, returned to see if they could salvage something from their home, they found that someone had broken in through a window and stolen their TV.
The trucking company, the Ohio-based R&L Carriers, put the family up in a motel in Morgantown for a week, and has extended the stay through July 31.
On July 20, John Rissler said during a phone interview that the company at one point “had told us to look around for a new place to live. Then last week, they called and said they weren't going to buy us a new place to live, but would give a donation towards buying another trailer. Now it's like they're backing down and they're not going to help. We haven't heard from them since last week.”
The Risslers have contacted a lawyer, but are now playing a waiting game.
“We can't go look for another place to live because we don't have money to get another place,” Rissler said. “We had called the landlord and asked if we found a double-wide could we pull it into the vacant lot across from where we used to live, and he said 'No problem.' Then a few days later, some of our neighbors called us and said there were two notices on the door of our place. We went out, and the landlord had taken us to court to get the property back.”
That court date is July 28. The Risslers do not have the money to have the condemned trailer torn down. “They're still playing the blame game,” Rissler said. “No one person wants to take sole responsibility.”
The landlord of Brandywine Terrace, Eugene Egan, Jr., had listed the rundown park for sale in April 2015 at a price of $2 million, chiefly because it sits on 59 acres of land near Honey Brook.
“A couple people told that our trailer has been condemned several times before we moved in,” Rissler said. “We have somebody at the township looking into it.”
In desperation, the Risslers have set up an online account for donations (www.gofundme.com/yxkt3a2).
They are very grateful for the $1,000 that has been contributed by people they don't even know, but they are in dire need of permanent shelter. And that looks like it will take a while.
“At this point, our money is running out, for the most part,” Rissler said.
To contact the family, call 717-917-0788 or 484-796-3970.
To contact Staff Writer John
Chambless, email email@example.com.