A south suburban family is facing one of the biggest challenges of their lives after the new homeowners say their life savings have been wiped out after a sewer pipe collapsed under their home— leaving them with a $29,000 bill.
The Pinto family has not been able to use the water in their home for 17 days now and because of it, they have temporarily been staying with relatives about an hour away from their residence.
NBC 5 found out Wednesday that other neighbors were also starting to have similar problems--so much so that the block of Ashland Avenue in Homewood closed down.
Crews were seen digging deep Wednesday, working on a sewage pipe that turned the Pinto family’s world upside down when it suddenly collapsed on Dec. 30.
"(It) comes out through our yard and dives into the driveway right here, heads out into the street and goes vertical down into the sewer, it gets progressively deeper as it goes," Blake Pinto said.
The family said the initial bill was $29,000 and after NBC 5 Responds reached out to the village, they stated that the collapsed pipe that connects to the village’s main line was their responsibility since it’s a private pipe.
"We couldn’t get anybody to do anything," Pinto said. "So,a lot of the things we were able to initially save, got wiped out and it feels like it was unnecessary."
Since the family's pipe collapsed, two others on the same block have as well.
"I'’ve got kids in college, I’m a single mom, this is not the type of expense you can expect and have that extra cash," Kelly Reid said, whose pipes collapsed Saturday.
Homeowners' insurance won’t cover the outside damage, so neighbors have chipped in to help the Pinto's as they’re forced to start to from scratch.
"I just can’t begin to appreciate everything that everyone has done for us," Emily Pinto, Blake's wife said. "It’s been a very… a great help and thank you."
Now that three neighbors on the same block have been affected, the village of Homewood said it’s looking into those cases as well.
In the meantime, the Pinto family tells NBC 5 the new final quote was reduced to just more than $26,000 as several thousand have already been raised by strangers who want to help.
The village of Homewood issues a statement Wednesday afternoon saying:
"The Village of Homewood is aware of the resident’s sewer lines that have collapsed on the 18800 block of South Ashland Ave and sympathizes with the situation the homeowners are in. Public Works has televised the sewer main that is the Village’s responsibility for two of the three homes and found it to be clear.
The video of the Village’s sewer main revealed the first collapsed sewer line has broken free from the Village’s sewer main, likely due to ground settling.
The video also showed the second collapsed sewer line has a calcium buildup that constricts outflow into the sewer main. We were informed that there is a history of tree roots penetrating the pipe at that location, likely compromising its integrity.
The Village is investigating the cause of these collapses and will share its results with the impacted residents as soon as possible."