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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A man who’s forced to move out of the clothing store that he’s run for 40 years after a bus slammed into his business received more bad news on Monday.
Arsene Omega’s business Omega Fashions at N.W. 2nd Ave. and 54th St. was closed on Sunday, September 16th after a Miami-Dade transit bus slammed into it.
Authorities say it happened when a 2002 Ford Ranger pickup truck driven by 69-year-old Hipolito Serafin Rodriguez ran a red light and hit the bus, pushing it into the building.
Omega learned on Monday that Rodriguez was not insured and was cited for a lack of insurance as well as running the red light. That means Omega is not expecting to receive any money from either Rodriguez or his insurance company.
Now Omega does not know if any insurance money at all is available to pay for his losses because Omega also did not have insurance on the building.
Omega told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that he did not purchase insurance for his building because he could not afford it at the time.
“When I first bought the building,” said Omega, “I had to fix it up and I had to borrow the money to fix it. I had to get cement blocks for the building and I ran out of money. I did not get insurance for my building. It has been hard.”
“Hard is actually not the word for this,” said Omega, who has a daughter and three sons and who came to the U.S. from Haiti in November of 1976.
“I turned 65 yesterday and I worked all day yesterday to move stuff out,” he said. “I have all of this fabric imported from England. What am I going to do with it? What do I do now? I wish there was a solution. I wish that someone could talk to me and say we are going to give you a starting point. All they are telling me is they are going to take my building down. This was my retirement.”
Omega said he was also hoping to do more to help his daughter who is a Nurse practitioner and hopes to become a doctor someday. “Now I am going to have to sell the building,” he said, “and pay off student loans.”
“I worked so hard for this business, from scratch,” he said. “But God will make me have a will. When there is a will I am not going to give up just like that.”
A spokeswoman for the city of Miami said the city plans to demolish the unsafe business within the next two weeks and said it would take a court injunction to stop the planned demolition.
Omega said he has hired an attorney to stop the demolition.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Omega with expenses related to his business. Click here if you would like to help.
“Ever since I was a kid I have taken care of myself,” said Omega. “I have never been a beggar but at some point even the strongest man would come down on a knee. I leave it up to anybody who feels with their heart that they can help me. All I want to do is get to work where I was.”