The house smells. There’s a distinct gasoline odour in two rooms on the upper floor; another room smells uncannily like bleach. An hour inside the house and your eyes itch and your nose is runny.

“They say the house is fine ... that we can move in,” said Lina Albi.

“I can’t even stay inside for a couple of hours. How can we move back?”

“They” is Intact Insurance Company, the home insurer Albi alleges has turned its back on them.

In the early morning of May 10, 2009, a neighbour backed his car into the side of her North York house, smashing into a gas meter and a side wall. A tankful of gasoline seeped into the soil and the foundation.

The insurance company hired multiple crews for the repairs and cleanup.

They dug up part of the basement and replaced the gasoline-soaked soil. But one year later, the smell still lingers and now the family says the insurer has walked away, blaming the problem on kerosene in the foundation.

“They said the kerosene has been there since we bought the house,” said Albi, who moved in with her husband, Joe, in 1980. “It was a new house ... there’s never been any problem. Now we don’t know what to do.”

Intact Insurance told the Toronto Star it had no comment about the case.

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