Bastrop fire victims' homes still unfinished


by ANDY PIERROTTI / KVUE News and photojournalist ERIN COKER

Bio | Email | Follow: @AndyP_KVUE

Posted on April 1, 2013 at 10:34 PM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 2 at 9:38 AM

First, she survived the 2011 Labor Day fires that destroyed her Bastrop home. Today, Christie Hardinger feels more overwhelmed by all the unfinished work remaining on her new home.

“These have shelves, but those do not," Hardinger explained about her kitchen cabinets.

She says her kitchen floors flood when it rains, and a plumber recently told her the new bathtub needs to be re-installed. Hardinger is paralyzed from an auto-accident and cannot use a shower to bathe.

In October, KVUE showed her struggle to rebuild after she paid JC Washington, owner of 5J’s Construction, more than $154,000.

Seven months later, it's still not done.

"The turmoil, the stress, the way I've had to live because of what he's done - nobody will ever understand," Hardinger said.

She's not the only one complaining. Sheila Bouland hired Washington too. She paid him $20,000 to turn a storage unit, damaged by the fires, into an apartment for her disable father.

It remains unfinished and there's water damage inside. 

"He said to trust him, that he would fix it. That fix never came," Bouland said.

Cari Croft says she feels burned by the same contractor. In October, she and her husband showed us all of the unfinished work they paid Washington to do.

Today, documents show that two liens are on their home because Washington hasn't fully paid the AC door companies he hired to install equipment.

Croft says it’s been tough lesson for her children.

“Kids just bounce back and they're hopeful; think everybody is good, but when you go through something so devastating as the fire, and to raise them and to let them know world isn't such a fair place at such an early age - it's hard," said Croft.

In October, JC Washington didn't want to answer our questions.

After repeated phone calls, we showed up again a couple of weeks ago at Lexington Home where his company car was parked outside.

He wasn't there and someone, who wouldn't identify himself, told us to leave.

Hardinger worries contractors will put liens on her home any day now.

“My mom died in October and I couldn't go to her funeral because I don't know what's going to happen next. I don’t know,” she said.

Washington hired a home inspector to review what needed to be finished in Hardinger's home, but refuses to provide a copy of the inspection to KVUE or Hardinger.

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