Toxic diesel spill drives couple out of home
A couple who saw hundreds of litres of diesel spill into their front yard say they've been forced out of their home as they battle with the insurance company.
A freak truck crash in November last year sent between 200 and 300 litres of diesel into Lex and Karen's yard and under their home in Lilyfield in Melbourne's far east.
"I think if a bomb had gone off in the front, it probably would have looked the same," Karen told A Current Affair.
Some of the diesel has been drained, but plenty has pooled under the home and soaked into the ground, and the couple say the fumes are proving unbearable.
"You can sort of feel your throat constricting," Lex said.
"Just stinks all the time."
The couple claim they had not received the help they needed from Elders Insurance.
They said they had also been expected to remain at the property, and pay for much of the damage to be repaired.
Despite the fact that the accident was caused by an out-of-control truck, insurance company Elders has attempted to make the couple pay to replace some of the home's stumps, which Elders claims were already damaged.
And in the meantime, the couple claim the company is refusing to dig the diesel out from the ground and under the house.
Karen and Lex claimed they had also had a request for temporary accommodation rejected.
Chemical engineer Professor Gavin Mudd said Lex and Karen had every right to be concerned about their health.
"For a situation like this, I would certainly think it's reasonable either to make sure there is a very rapid clean-up or dealt with the health risks associated with the situation," he said.
He said the issue of diesel contamination following an oil spill was a "stock standard issue" in the industry.
To escape the fumes, Lex and Karen said they had been spending their time in a caravan in the country.
But since A Current Affair became involved, Elders Insurance have arranged for builders and surveyors to immediately attend the site and assess the structure.
They have also arranged temporary accommodation for Lex and Karen during the repair process.
In a statement to A Current Affair, Elders said the company had “worked closely” with the couple from the date of the accident.
"We appreciate this has been a terrible ordeal for [Karen] and our team continue to maintain regular dialogue with her and hope to have this resolved for her as a matter of priority," the statement read.
Elders’ full statement can be read online here.
© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2019