Raw sewage explodes into GA homes

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  The northwest Albany homes were flooded with raw sewage, and the owners say it's the city's fault.

Two homeowners on Forest Glen Drive were forced from their homes a week ago when sewage began pouring from the toilets with such force it splattered on their walls.

They'll have to replace carpeting, hardwood floors, insulation, and duct work under their homes.

It could be six to eight weeks before the families can even think about returning home. The Powell's had to throw out mattress sets they bought earlier this year. Five rooms in their home were damaged, and they're not the only ones.

Inside Helen and Orvis Powell's home was a sea of black sludge. They're son captured the damage. It was the same situation at the Freeney's next door.

Fred Freeney heard it coming. "This bathroom, I heard this gurgling noise, and knew something was about to happen."

Before he could turn around, both toilets erupted. "It got out of hand, the towels wouldn't stop it."

In six to eight minutes it filled the house. If that wasn't bad enough imagine the smell. "Absolutely horrible and it's the single worst thing that's ever happened to me or us."

"Frustrating, Traumatic, a lot of tears and we do laugh because we know that god is taking care of us," said Linda Freeney. "Three and a half years ago all of these floors were new."

ServePro has been cleaning up the damage classifies the mess as one of the worst. "This is considered class three or category three or black water," said Paul Dewan, ServPro Production Manager.

With heavy residue throughout the affected areas the first step of the clean up was to get carpeting, flooring, and furniture out.

"Harder surfaces can be cleaned, some things can be cleaned and sanitized and sealed but generally any soft materials once it gets into the materials that's all that we can do with them," said Dewan.

Both families say the city responded quickly, and has been helpful with their cleanup, but for both the Freeney's and Powell's they won't be home for Christmas.

City officials didn't want to talk with us on camera, but said they were fixing a nearby blockage when these houses were damaged. They say they're still investigating to figure out what happened.

The families say the city told them they are responsible for the damage. City officials say if they determine the city is at fault, they will compensate the two families.

ServePro is still working on estimates for the families.

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