Restoration Roundup: Deadly Flooding, SERVPRO's Possible Acquisition, Asbestos-Riddled Town, & More | 3.20.19
The latest headlines affecting the restoration industry.
Restoration Roundup is a regular feature here on www.randrmagonline.com meant to help keep you abreast of headlines and news affected the restoration and remediation industry. You won't find it in your print or digital issue, so keep a close eye on our web-exclusive content!
Satellite Images Show Destruction in Nebraska and Iowa after Midwest Floods
Deadly, fast-rising floodwaters have forced thousands of people to flee their homes in Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin and Missouri. At least three deaths have been blamed on the flooding, the result of a combination of runoff into rivers from the "bomb cyclone" storm that hit the country last week and spring snowmelt. Satellite images provided by DigitalGlobe offer a before-and-after view of the historic flooding of the Missouri and Platte rivers south of Omaha, Nebraska.
FEMA Changes for Flood Insurance Program Put Burden on Riskiest Properties
Climate advocates say an overhaul of the nation’s flood insurance program being unveiled by the Trump administration will spur communities around the country to better plan for extreme weather, but could drive up costs for some homeowners. The changes announced Monday (March 18) by the Federal Emergency Management Agency represent one of the most significant reforms in the history of the National Flood Insurance Program. It will tie premiums to the actual flood risk facing individual homes nationwide starting in October 2020. The current system sets prices based largely on whether a home is inside or outside of the 100-year flood plain.
Blackstone Nears $1 Billion Deal to Acquire SERVPRO
The Blackstone Group L.P. is nearing a deal to buy Gallatin-based Servpro Industries Inc. for $1 billion including debt, according to The Wall Street Journal. Servpro, one of Sumner County's largest private employers, is a provider of fire and water damage-restoration services for commercial and residential properties. The company has more than 1,700 franchises nationwide. Citing anonymous sources, The Wall Street Journal reports New York City-based Blackstone (NYSE: BX), one of world's largest private-equity firms, won an auction to buy Servpro, which was founded in 1967 by Doris Isaacson and her late husband, Ted Isaacson. The company moved its headquarters to Middle Tennessee in 1988.
Lumber Liquidators to Pay $33 Million for Misleading Investors about Formaldehyde in Laminate Flooring
Virginia-based Lumber Liquidators, one of the largest flooring retailers in the country, has agreed to pay a $33 million penalty for misleading investors about formaldehyde-laced laminate flooring from China. The investigation and agreement with federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of Virginia stemmed from a 2015 “60 Minutes” investigation finding dangerous levels of formaldehyde in Lumber Liquidators’ laminate flooring. The company, which has its headquarters in Toano in southeast Virginia, agreed to pay a $19 million criminal fine and $14 million in forfeiture. Under the deferred prosecution, the Justice Department will dismiss a charge of securities fraud in three years if Lumber Liquidators meets its obligations.
California Wildfires: Report Names Priority Projects for Thinning Vegetation
Gov. Gavin Newsom should immediately allow the thinning of vegetation on almost 94,000 acres of state land in a bid to keep more than 200 communities safe, California fire officials said Tuesday as they released a list of the state’s 35 most critical fuel-reduction projects. The priority projects include areas near Orinda, Aptos, Woodside and Los Gatos. To narrow the list, state experts not only assessed fire risk but such factors as whether residents of areas were older or more disabled on average, and whether their communities featured good escape routes in case of emergency. The 28-page report by the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known as Cal Fire, recommended a variety of other steps California should take to reduce risk after two catastrophic years of damage, in which wildfires killed nearly 150 people, destroyed thousands of homes and raised fundamental questions about the safety of hundreds of towns amid a warming climate.
Final Landowners, Residents of Asbestos-Riddled Australian Town to be Forced Out
Landowners who refuse to move from the most contaminated site in the southern hemisphere will have their properties compulsorily acquired by the West Australian government. A bill to finalise the closure of the former asbestos mining town Wittenoom in the Pilbara, which was de-gazetted in 2007, will be introduced to state parliament today. Five landowners, three of whom still live in the former town site, will be paid generous compensation packages that will cost the state government $2-3 million in total, lands minister Ben Wyatt says.