Local News

Flooded Homeowners Ask: Who Will Pay?

Posted August 23, 2007 8:55 p.m. EDT
Updated August 24, 2007 5:50 a.m. EDT

— Wednesday night’s storms and a backed-up storm drain sent up to two feet of water into a handful of Durham houses.

That left homeowners questioning who would pay for the mess. Sarah and Patrick Horn said they woke up Thursday morning to find water rushing through their house.

“I don’t know what to do. There’s so much to do, and I don’t know where to start,” Sarah said.

“It just felt like the house was ready to go,” Patrick said. “It was scary.”

A heavy morning rain Thursday made matters worse after a storm drain pipe collapsed. An entire cul-de-sac at the Hope Valley Farms subdivision was under 1 to 2 feet of water. The problem pipe sat right behind Laurie Corona's backyard.

She said it started out as a small hole, and then she started noticing problems months ago.

“What comes in my yard at night is rats. It’s like a relay race," she said.

Corona and many neighbors said they blame the city. But city officials pointed the finger at a nearby daycare center.

“We investigated and determined it was not part of the city’s sewer system,” said Assistant City Manager Ted Voorhees.

The city said it's the responsibility of George Laycock, the daycare owner, to repair any problems with the pipe. But, in letters to the city and in talking with WRAL, Laycock said the pipe isn't his problem.

The city is now performing repairs, and it plans to bill Laycock. That was little solace for folks who said they don't know who is going to pay for the mess.

“It sure would’ve been nice if someone had cared before it was a crisis,” Patrick said.

The city estimated the cost to fix the pipe will be about $50,000. Laycock said he will not pay it.