Water and structures go together like gas and matches. In my 17 years, I have seen just about every way that water can enter a home or business. While pipe breaks, toilet overflows, and faulty appliances make up the majority of our claims, every once in a while you’re completely surprised to hear about how this water damage happened. The following are some of my most memorable.
A friend of mine called me frantic, saying water is entering her home, the house was filling up with water and she had no idea where it is coming from? As I could hear the fear in her voice get more intense, I told her to hang up the phone and call the fire department. It turned out that a water main broke in the middle of her street, and unfortunately ran downhill into her garage and into her kitchen and living room immediately. The fire department responded quickly and was able to get the water turned off within about five minutes. But not before causing an estimated $60-$70,000 in damage.
A homeowner left his second home in a gated community here in Flagstaff. He winterized his home, turned off his water like he did every year. Several months later some neighbors were walking down the street and noticed ice coming out of his walls and freezing icicles on the block foundation. They called the security guard, who upon a closer look, found the home to be completely covered in water and mold. I entered the home a few hours later, I walked about 10 feet into the structure accompanied by the homeowner’s realtor and the security guard. One glimpse into the living room, and the smell of heavy mold hitting my lungs. I immediately ordered everyone out. I went to my truck and put on full PPE, also known as personal protective equipment, I offered masks to the other two as well. After further investigation, it was determined that the fire suppression system had froze, and ruptured at a point where it spewed directly into the heater, putting out the gas flame. (Note: homeowners do not have access to the fire suppression shut off valves) The gated community thought it was odd that they had to fill up their 500,000-gallon water holding tank three times that month, as very few residents were occupying the gated community at the time. The water company sent the homeowner a usage bill for 1.4 million gallons the following month. It ran for at least a month. Mold covered everything, all the way down to the wooden spoons in the drawers, to jewelry in a jewelry box. It was a complete gut, we took the interior down to the original studs. $250,000 dollar loss.
A couple decided to buy a water bed. They started to fill the water bed, forgot about it, and had a wild hair to go out for dinner. You can imagine the sight upon returning.
A family’s dog was deathly afraid of lightning. Anytime they knew lightning was possible, and the dog had to be left alone, they would put him in their large master bathroom, and shut the door. He seemed to be fine in there. One monsoon day, they were not expecting heavy activity. A thunder cloud developed directly over their neighborhood, producing several bolts of lightning. The dog headed to the safety of the bathroom. One of the homeowners was able to come home for lunch a few hours later. As he opened his garage door he noticed water pouring into the garage and the ceiling lid drywall and insulation, covered the slab floor. He rushed upstairs, to find his Jacuzzi tub flowing heavy water from the faucet. He knew immediately his dog had jumped into the tub, accidentally turning on the water handle, and landing on the drain at the same time. The estimated value of damage was somewhere around $75,000.
In 2010, a late summer monsoon rainstorm hit the Sedona Valley extremely hard, producing 3-4 inches of rain in an hour. Oak Creek began flowing heavily and at some point surpassed the flood stage. A culvert leading into the creek had become clogged by freshly cut trees that had yet to be hauled away. The amazing amount of water diverted directly into Tlaquepaque, flooding the majority of the lower-level businesses. We had a truck nearby, who was able to get into the complex before they shut all the roads down. We were able to sign the majority of the jobs. Red mud and heavy water damage, resulted in businesses shut down during one of their busiest months.
This next story did not happen in Flagstaff or northern Arizona. I know several restoration companies around the United States. Many of them are my close friends. One of them told me an amazing story, that you may not find amusing. As marriages so often happen, a couple was in the middle of a separation, when allegedly the wife was found to be having an affair. The upset husband waited for her to leave on a girl’s weekend. He promptly removed all of his precious belongings from the house. He owned a Rooter service, a plumbing service that deals with sewage. He pulled his work vehicle up to the house, pulled his hose out and put it in through a window, and unloaded the thousand-gallon tank multiple times. He filled the home upwards of a foot of raw sewage. He let it sit for a few days before she came home.
I hope none of these situations ever happen to you, however, if you or anyone you know has any questions about water damage, flood damage, mold, fire, biohazard or reconstruction? Please give us a call to set up an appointment with our team!