Need your advice/wisdom
I am looking for help and guidance for my retired parents who aren't sure what to do next.
I'll give the shortened (!!) story and then can add more if necessary.
They own their own home (over 30 years, stil have a small mortgage) and due to some financial issues, they sought help from a local town assistance program to get a new heating system installed. It's some kind of subsidy program that does not require repayment if they live in the house for so many more years (i.e. if they sell the house, the "loan" becomes due). They've been having issues here and there with the heating system for years so it was time to replace and this "loan" was a blessing.
Fast forward to the removal/installation of the heating system. A company is hired via the town assistance program to do the project (it's not their regular oil delivery/maintenance company). The old tank is removed from the cellar and the new tank installed. The new company (installers) says they need a small oil delivery to the tank so it can be hooked up to the not-yet-installed heating system (it was July so there was no need for a scheduled delivery).
During all of this, my dad unexpectly ends up in the emergency room (intensive care, knocking on death's door) so things are put on hold for about a week and a half (it was nothing short of a miracle that he recovered). He gets moved to rehab and then can make phone calls etc to get the project back on track. He calls the installer oil company and confirms with them that he should have 100 gallons delivered and they say yes. He calls his "regular" oil delivery company and they bring 100 gallons. All is right on schedule.
My mother gets home from visiting my dad and as soon as she pulls in the driveway, the smell of oil is VERY apparent. She goes to the cellar and there is the strongest smell of oil ever.
Guess what. The installing company forgot to put the plug in the tank after setting it up, so the oil came in and poured out into the ground. It then (rightfully so)turns into a big whole to-do with the EPA and their trucks out a couple days later testing/digging/removing the contaminated dirt from the basement and surrounding areas.
Now the insurance companies are all fighting about who's fault it is and no one is taking responsibility as its about $100k for this clean-up. There were conference calls between the 2 oil companies, the town and my parents. (My opinion is the oil delivery company shouldn't even be involved, they were hired to make a delivery and they did. There would be no reason for them to know/inspect the new tank, they just literally deliver the oil and leave.)
My parents got a call today from their personal insurance company saying they were rejecting the claim and my dad would get paperwork in the mail.
The town agency acknowledges that they hired the company who did the work (i.e. my parents didn't have a contract with the installer, the town does) but since this never happened before, he (the town guy) doesn't know what to say/do except "sorry" pretty much. (I could scream hearing that.)
My dad has a call into the Attorney General's office looking for advice but of course on a Friday afternoon, no one is going to call him back.
He spoke with an attorney but they want $2500 up front and then $275 an hour. If my parents had that kind of money, they wouldn't have needed the town agency's help!
My heart breaks for them as now they have no furnace (and can't until the EPA gives them the go-ahead), my dad is still recuperating from his hospital/rehab (a month total away from home) and this black cloud of $100k bill coming in the mail.
I live out of state so I can't just stop by the town to get info to try to help them but I will go there if necessary.
Any ideas on what I can do to advise them and/or do to steer them in the right direction?
Thank you in advance. I apologize for not being so short as promised. You all are such a wealth of information and I trust you like I know you. :o)