Fire, smoke, raw sewage, and, hey, do you smell gas? Yup, Verizon's here.

Pretty soon plague and pestilence will be all that's left for Verizon to unleash as the company continues to lay waste to the countryside in the course of bringing its FiOS service to the masses.

Sure, accidents happen, but Verizon appears drawn to them like flies on a ... well, we'll get to the sewage on a family's front yard and driveway in a moment. First we have to talk about gas leaks.

Those who have been following this saga already know that a Verizon FiOS technician sparked an electrical fire - and a subsequent rip-roaring debate involving yours truly - at a home in Needham, Mass. on Aug. 8. And they know that a second technician hit another wire near Philadelphia generating plumes of smoke and $2,650 worth of damage to a house that just happened to be owned by an Associated Press business writer. (Verizon picked up the repair tabs in both cases.) Other news accounts have told of similar mishaps elsewhere.

You-know-what happens ... as you'll see ... and, needless to say, Verizon isn't alone in causing this kind of trouble.

But try telling that to Kristen Bordau, a resident of Bell Acres, Pa., who along with a number of her neighbors was driven from her home yesterday after contractors installing fiber for Verizon struck a gas line. As reported by the local press this morning:

Bordau said she could smell the chemical released in natural gas leaks quite prominently for several minutes before the contractor came to her door around 4 p.m. "The odor was strong," she said as she stood down the street from her home, evacuated along with several of her neighbors.

Nothing went boom, no one was hurt, contractors will be contractors, and, this one might have slipped under the radar if not for this: Same thing happened in the same neighborhood three months ago. Verizon then, too.

First time, accident. Second time? I mean, c'mon, a colleague just told me that he had to have Dig Safe out to his house recently just to have a couple of shrubs planted. Do they have something like Dig Safe in Pennsylvania? Sure seems as though they should if they don't.

The last time the gas line was breached, in July, no one was evacuated, but in the wake of several other leaks in the area, including one last month that caused a Harmony Township home to explode, local authorities were taking no chances Thursday.

Other leaks? What other leaks? Well, there have been a total of seven in that area this summer alone, according to the newspaper, but before you go off thinking that Verizon was responsible for all seven you should know that I'm told it's really only three out of seven: the two experienced by Kristen Bordau and a third in nearby Ambridge.

OK, on to the sewage. This account was left on Buzzblog by an anonymous person, so it's unverifiable. But see for yourself whether or not it has the right ring.

Verizon's FiOS installers hit the joint where the 4" PVC sewer line for my home runs into the larger county line. I had sewage backing up all over my front yard and driveway.

After three days of my kids running around in it (it had been raining and I didn't realize what it was) I realized what was wrong and called a local plumber. They got their snake stuck in the pipe and after a while we put 2 and 2 together and realized what happened.

After phone-tree hell w/ Verizon, I finally got someone to authorize the work. So, the plumbers smelled $$$ and started digging up my front yard. ... Four days later, with plumbers and county workers working every day and sometimes night, they got it fixed. I had a bill for $3,650 on my Visa.

Now the fun begins... I start calling around to get reimbursed. After hours of the run-around, Verizon says it's the subcontractor's fault. After more hours of the run-around, the subcontractor says it's the county's fault. After more hours of the run-around, they say it's not their fault. After COUNTLESS hours of phone calls, the someone (I really don't know who) says they will send me a check. So, I send them the bills... I wait... I get a call from the subcontractor who says I was screwed by the plumber (of course I was - it was the weekend and I needed the $&it to stop flowing into my front yard).

So, finally, someone offers me about 1/2 what the bill was - I say HELL NO. I haven't heard from them since. This happened in like April... it's now September and I haven't received a nickel. Thanks VERIZON!!!!!

Seems as though Kristen Bordau and her neighbors got off easy.

A final point before we wrap this installment of "The Wrath of Verizon." My wife tells me that her parents have taken the plunge and will take the risk: They've signed up for FiOS. Being a newswoman and knowing of this ongoing tale, she was wondering if I might like to be there when the installation happens. (Any chance she's trying to get rid of me?)

My initial reaction was that it wouldn't be worth the 40-minute drive to my in-laws given that the odds of anything newsworthy happening had to be slim (none left town a long time ago for Verizon).

Now I'm rethinking things. Maybe I should go ... if for no other reason but to help clean up.

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