Ravell Call, Deseret News
Sean and Brooke McClure describe water damage to their home in Layton, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014. They have been fighting the city for reimbursement since a water main broke and flooded their home about a year ago.
LAYTON — Sean and Brooke McClure are all out of patience.
A year ago, a water main in front of their Layton home, 469 S. 450 West, broke, sending water down their driveway and into the basement. They say the city is responsible and they want it to pay for repairs, but Layton officials insist the city is not at fault.
The break on Jan. 3, 2013, happened in the street.
“The water main in front of our house had erupted, and it was shooting the water straight into our driveway, which is very steep, down into the basement,” Sean McClure said. “It was filling up so fast.”
It took 60 to 90 minutes for someone to show up and shut the water off, he said.
“The water was halfway up the stairs,” he said. “It was so powerful, it busted the door right into the house. There’s nothing left of that bathroom.”
The city sent a disaster cleanup company to clean the home and the fire department to pump the water out. The process took about a week. During that time, the city paid for the couple to stay in a hotel.
“We have a lot of things that are still ruined that we put in storage, just in case they needed to see it,” he said.
The driveway was also damaged.
“The water rushed underneath the cement, and it was bubbling up, out from underneath the cement,” he said. “When we were parking on the cement, it was cracking underneath our vehicle.”
The city fixed part of the sidewalk next to the driveway, but the family wants the city to do more. They hired an attorney to file a lawsuit and are asking for $85,000 to fix all the damage and for the hardship they say they have endured while waiting for things to be restored back to the way they were before the break.
“(It’s) very frustrating," Brooke McClure said. “We’ve been more than patient, waiting for something to happen, and we’re kind of at our limit now.”
They say they can’t afford the repairs, which is why the basement remains empty.
“I’d really like to get my house back in order, and not have it look so chaotic and be able to repair the basement, have it in order again,” she said.
They believe the city should pay for the repairs because it was a water line serviced from the city that broke. While the city agrees up to that point, that’s where they stop seeing eye to eye.
“They (Utah Risk Management Mutual Association) were not able to determine what the cause of the break was, but we know that it was not because of lack of maintenance," assistant city attorney Steve Garside said.
He added that the city went above and beyond what it was required to do when it sent a cleaning crew and paid for the couple to stay at a hotel.
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Because the water main is on city property, the McClures' insurance company won't cover the damage. The McClures say they don't disagree with that. They believe the city should pay. They say they can’t afford to pay a lawyer to fight on their behalf.
Adding to Sean McClure’s frustration is he had just returned from Afghanistan before the flood. Many of his fellow National Guardsmen helped with the cleanup.
“I’ve done a lot for this country with my own life,” he said, “and to come home and go through this with this city, I just don’t feel that what they’re doing to us is fair.”