Fire sprinklers that flood homes spark outrage. ‘Ticking time bombs,’ one resident says

March 9, 2018 8:16 AM SHARE Durlye and Chris Warren are the third homeowners in their Lennar subdivision to suffer substantial damages because of a faulty fire sprinkler system in the last two years. Jose Luis Villegas The Sacramento Bee i By Hudson Sangree [email protected] Dozens of upset Roseville residents filled a meeting room Thursday night and shouted complaints and questions at the regional president of homebuilding giant Lennar. Their complaint is that interior sprinklers in Lennar-built houses have spontaneously activated, flooding and destroying the newer homes. Those whose homes have flooded were irate. Those who have the faulty sprinklers are worried they’ll be next. “They’re all ticking time bombs,” said Doug DeVol, a resident of Roseville’s Westpark neighborhood, where flooding has occurred. At issue are sprinklers manufactured by Viking, a Michigan company and major purveyor of fire-safety equipment. Its VK457 sprinklers manufactured from 2013 to 2015 have been the subject of lawsuits in California and complaints from England, Canada and across the U.S. The sprinklers have activated without fire or excessive heat on numerous occasions and can flood a house with several inches of water in a short time.Lennar built hundreds of homes during the relevant period in the Sacramento suburbs and installed VK457s in many, if not all, of its houses.Since 2011, the state has required that new homes have fire-suppression systems. One resident of a new subdivision in Rancho Cordova said her Lennar-built home flooded last October when a VK457 activated without reason in the closet of her spare bedroom. Lisa Even said the sprinkler went off about 1 a.m. and sounded like a waterfall. She and her husband called 911 and waited.They weren’t able to turn off the water main. Within about 30 minutes, the sprinkler flooded her house with 3 inches of water.The couple and their two young children had to Continue Reading

With a mattress as a raft, two Bell County residents salvage what they can from flooded home

Tiffany Gambrell and Adam Joseph of Pineville stayed up late Saturday night and watched the water rise across the road from their home. By 4 a.m. Sunday, the high water mark was still far away, so they went to sleep thinking they were safe. At about 7 a.m., they woke to a phone call. Their neighbor Ashley Beach said the water was now surrounding them, and that they needed to bring their three children to safety. “We looked out the back door and out the front door and we were completely surrounded,” Gambrell said. They waded into the freezing chest-deep water and took the children to Beach’s house. Within an hour, the water was flooding their trailer. “It was heartbreaking sitting there watching your stuff be destroyed,” Gambrell said. “It was awful.” They watched as the water covered Gambrell’s car and floated their washing machine downstream. After the children were safe, Joseph and Gambrell went back to the trailer to recover some of their belongings. They found their mattress floating inside, and used it as a raft to transport some clothes and other odds and ends out of the home. “We get a lot of flood warnings and it’s never gotten this bad,” Beach said. By Monday, the water receded and they were able assess the damage. “It looks like a tornado just went through there,” Gambrell said. Beach launched a GoFundMe page to help Gambrell get back on her feet. Much of the floodwater receded Monday throughout Eastern Kentucky, state officials said. Six counties — Harlan, Perry, Knox, Letcher, Floyd and Bell — and the city of Pineville declared states of emergency in response to the flooding, said Monica L. French, spokeswoman for Kentucky Emergency Management. Some low-lying areas in northern Bell County were still inaccessible Monday afternoon becausewater continued to block some roadways, said Bell County Judge-Executive Albey Brock. “I can access 75 Continue Reading

Water main break floods homes, causes sinkhole in Mountain View

A water main break in Mountain View created a sinkhole that partially swallowed a pickup early Wednesday morning and flooded nearby homes. The break of the 12-inch concrete pipe was reported shortly before 5:30 a.m. on Delta Street near South 43rd Street just west of Interstate 805 near the border with National City, police and water officials said. It sent a river of water flowing down the street, creating a sinkhole near where a Ram truck had been parked. At one point, the hood of the truck was under several feet of water. A small apartment complex also was inundated with water. Just after 7 a.m., city crews appeared to have stopped the flow of water from the broken line. Police closed off traffic to Delta from South 43rd Street down to Scott Street, a police spokesman said. Approximately 30 customers are without water service and a water wagon will be on site to provide water for cooking, drinking and other needs, said city spokesman Arian Collins. He estimated repairs will be completed and water service will be restored by 7 p.m. [email protected] Continue Reading

Canal overflows, flooding homes in southeast Clovis

About 20 acres in southeast Clovis were flooded early Wednesday after a nearby canal overflowed its banks. Water from Gould Canal flowed into at least two properties along Locan Avenue sometime before 3 a.m., said Rick Orrin, Fresno County permit inspector. One resident on Locan Avenue, Val Wellerd, 66, had three horses and a donkey rescued by Heart of the Horse Ranch in the early morning hours. Crews have been working in the area, widening Locan Avenue and installing a concrete culvert in the canal where it runs beneath the road. Water was being diverted around the construction area by several large pumps. Kirk Wilson of Floyd Johnson Construction places a hose into a gutter to carry away pumped water from Gould Canal, which breeched its banks early Wednesday morning, Dec. 10, between Ashlan and Shields avenues. JOHN WALKER [email protected] Orrin said there was no water in the canal at 5 p.m. Tuesday, and crews checked the canal at midnight and it was dry. Had there been water, the pumps would have been turned on, Orrin said. Later that evening, water was released upstream, causing the flooding. As officials Wednesday tried to sort out what happened, work crews were busy pumping water from the affected properties. “There were about 30 pumps trying get the water out of there,” Orrin said. Continue Reading

SEE IT: Texas firefighter finds fiancée’s undamaged wedding dress in Harvey-flooded home

The dress was safe and dry in the fireman's Lumberton, Texas, home. Firefighter Kyle Parry and his fiancée, Stephanie Hoekstra, were supposed to get married in Galveston, Texas, on Sept. 10 — before Hurricane Harvey ravaged the southeast corner of the Lone Star State. But in the storm's wake, Parry's home in Lumberton, Texas, was flooded, their happy day has been postponed and most of his possessions are ruined — except for one very important article of clothing. Parry — who has spent most of his time on rescue missions since Harvey moved on from Texas — found Hoekstra's wedding gown unscathed and dry. Before he and his dogs evacuated his home on Aug. 28, Parry moved the gown to an upper shelf within a closet, effectively saving it from the rising waters that would soon fill his house. "I got out of the boat and I am neck-deep in water," Parry told CNN. "I open the door of my house and I know it's a complete loss." A few days later, Parry and a friend returned to his home to survey the damage and found the dress, in the same spot where he folded it, a few inches above the brown, murky flood waters that still lingered in his rooms. "I was thrilled," Hoekstra told HuffPost. "I loved the dress and looked for it for a while before choosing, but it was more of a sign of hope to me. The dress was just a silver lining, knowing that our day is supposed to happen, someday, sometime." For now, Parry is focused on his job with the post-Harvey relief efforts throughout the region, and the couple has not yet considered a new date for their wedding. "Right now we are focusing on finding housing, and getting life back to normal," Hoekstra said. "It's going to be a long road for everyone in these coming months, maybe years, with trying to restore the communities." Continue Reading

Hurricane Sandy floods home of NY Giants linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka, displaces family

Mathias Kiwanuka was in his Hoboken townhouse with his wife, little girl and mother-in-law Monday night when rain water, Hudson River water and really smelly sewage started pouring into the first floor garage of his three-story home eight blocks from where Eli Manning lives. “We got flooded,” Kiwanuka said Friday. “We had one foot of water. It will be a long cleanup process. The water that came in there was fuel, sewage, all kind of stuff. I don’t look forward to it, but we’re going to have to look into the walls and get all that stuff out of there. We’ll just take it slow and figure it out.” The Giants linebacker decided to ride out the storm at home, which he said he will never do again, and it wasn’t until Wednesday that he was able to navigate one of his cars through the streets of Hoboken that had been flooded and relocate his family into a hotel. He had moved another of his car to a garage that was then flooded by five feet of water. He was trapped by the flooding in the streets. Kiwanuka is now displaced, still without power and with no idea when he will be able to move back into his home. He got by with flashlights and candlesticks until he could evacuate. That means Kiwanuka can relate to the anguish being felt by so many in New York and New Jersey. He worries about his family, is trying to arrange for his home to be cleaned up and also has a job that won’t wait for him. The Giants have a big game Sunday against the Steelers at MetLife Stadium when so many of the fans either in attendance or watching on television will be counting on the Giants to provide a three-hour diversion. “It’s New Jersey. It’s a tough state, a state full of tough people and we will rebuild, we will get back on our feet,” Kiwanuka said. “In the meantime, we just got to get together and help everybody out.” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told the Daily News on Friday that the NFL Continue Reading

Louisiana man rescues cat named ‘Lovey’ and daughter’s bridesmaid’s dress from his Hurricane Isaac flooded home

Thousands of people had to be rescued from flooding homes in Louisiana and Mississippi as Hurricane Isaac lashed the region with heavy rain. Don Duplantier’s rescue mission was not quite a matter of life or death, but it was still an act of love. In fact, it was to save his cat “Lovey” and his daughter’s bridesmaid’s dress for his son’s upcoming wedding. Time was of the essence for two reasons, Duplantier told the Daily News. The dress needs to be altered before the Sept. 15 wedding, and Lovey is recovering from being spayed. Also, his young cat is “really people oriented” and “would’ve gone crazy in there by herself,” he said. So on Sunday, he made the trek from St. Bernard Parish to the home in Braithwaite that his family evacuated when Isaac hit last week. He drove as close as the flood waters allowed, and then pulled some strings. “The official position is you can’t get in unless the Sheriff’s Department allows you to go in,” he told the Daily News. “You gotta kind of know the sheriff.” Gerald Herbert/AP In the foreground is a sign marking the waterline from Hurricane Katrina, but floodwater from Isaac went all the way up to the second floor. Duplantier, 59, arrived to find his house in far worse shape than when Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. “Katrina was the worst case scenario, they said. I had 40 inches of [flood water],” he recalled. “It went to my ceiling this time.” Gerald Herbert/AP Don Duplantier walks through his flooded home as water recedes from Hurricane Isaac in Braithwaite, La., Sunday, Sept. 2, 2012. Lovey was safe and sound on the second floor. Duplantier’s two other cats were scared, but they’re better equipped to fend for themselves. “They’ve got food and water for a month,” he said. His daughter’s bridesmaid’s dress was also safe Continue Reading

Rescue in Youngsville as hundreds flee flooded homes

Hundreds of Youngsville residents scrambled to safety after heavy rainstorms soaked Lafayette Parish on Friday, flooding neighborhoods, closing schools and businesses and stranding motorists.The Louisiana National Guard went house to house in the 305-home Highland Ridge neighborhood off the Youngsville Highway, rescuing those who were stranded in the waist-high water."Some folks are refusing to leave," said Sgt. Todd Latiolais. "We are urging them to leave if they have water in their homes."Moments later, Latiolais rescued 7-year-old Camryn Broussard and her mother, Dana. Latiolais carried the little girl in his arms as she clung tightly to her puppy Twix. Mayor Ken Ritter and Youngsville councilwoman Diane McClelland helped Broussard and the rest of her family climb aboard the National Guard cargo truck that was bringing residents to Green T. Linden Elementary School.Dana Broussard, along with Noel Comeaux carried a few possessions in plastic bags as they boarded the cargo truck with two dogs and a guinea pig. Broussard said her home had more than three feet of water in it and that she had lost everything, including two vehicles."It happened so fast," she said. "We had to climb out of the window to get out. We couldn't open the door or anything. The water ended up past my window. If we hadn't left, we could not have gotten out. And I don't have any flood insurance. What do I do? Who do I call?"Ritter said the Broussards and other residents were being brought to Linden, which had been set up as a temporary shelter."Probably about 80 to 90 percent of the homes in Highland Ridge, phases I and II have been affected by the flooding," Ritter said. "We were hoping it would be less than that."Lafayette Mayor-President Joel Robideaux was encouraging emergency responders to bring residents to the Heymann Convention Center where the Red Cross has set up an emergency shelter.Anyone at Lindon Elementary and Youngsville Middle Continue Reading

Away from their flooded homes, Harvey evacuees fret about looters

HOUSTON — Tiffany Duron is packed and ready to leave the George R. Brown Convention Center.She knows there isn't much left at her East Houston home; floodwaters had reached her roof line when she escaped to the shelter.Still, she's worried about looters and eager to get back home."They were already breaking in my neighbors" houses, she said Wednesday. "I don't have nothing for them to take."As Duron and her family evacuated Monday, she saw people looting businesses, too, at the Fiesta Shopping Center. They broke into the Game Stop, Dollar Store and Auto Zone, she said."They're making it worse for everybody."The city of Houston made clear Tuesday night it will not stand for looters taking advantage of Harvey flooding.“People displaced or harmed in this storm are not going to be easy prey, “ Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said. She noted that stiffer punishment will be imposed on anyone convicted of looting in the wake of the storm under a Texas law that provides heftier penalties during a crisis.“Anyone who tries to take advantage of this storm to break into homes or businesses should know that they are going to feel the full weight of the law,” she said. “Offenders will be processed around the clock without delay.”Prosecutors said 14 looters have been arrested in the past two days.Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner imposed a midnight to 5 a.m. Wednesday curfew across the city after confirming reports that looters were targeting flooded-out homes and businesses.The curfew is meant to “stop any property crimes against evacuated homes in city limits” and is “in force only to prevent potential criminal acts,” Turner said in a series of posts on Twitter. More: Port Arthur mayor: 'Our whole city is underwater' More: Houston waterways start to recede; Harvey slams Louisiana More: Harvey to be costliest natural disaster in U.S. history, with an estimated cost Continue Reading

Weather system breaches Santa Clara dam, flooding homes

Editors note: This story was originally published on Sept. 12, 2012.A wet weather system across Southern Utah filled a Santa Clara retention pond in the Tuacahn Wash on Sept. 11, 2012 and led to a dike breach that destroyed the diversion dam, flooded homes on the east side of the city, closed roads to traffic and spawned voluntary evacuations downstream.“I think we’re lucky no one got hurt, as far as we know,” Santa Clara City Manager Edward Dickie III said. “It was quite a bit of water.”Washington County Sheriff Cory Pulsipher said he was near the base of the dike when it gave way.“I had inmate crews coming out to do some sandbagging, to protect the businesses below the dam and hopefully minimize the damage,” Pulsipher said. “We didn’t get the sandbags and work crews in place quite quick enough. ... You could just see where the whole bank started to cave in. There was a wall of 2, 2 ½ feet of water, and it was coming right towards us.”The Laub Pond is fed by the Tuacahn Wash on Santa Clara’s city limit with St. George, and the dike failure at the south end of the pond was immediately adjacent to the sports fields of Snow Canyon Middle School. Students in neighboring St. George and Santa Clara schools were initially kept at their campuses to avoid potential danger, but were allowed to leave by the usual means later in the day.Santa Clara Mayor Rick Rosenberg, who was attending a League of Cities and Towns meeting in Salt Lake City when the storm hit, said he had helped coordinate flood-response efforts by telephone and was heading home after learning of the dike breach.City Councilman Matt Ence, the acting mayor at the city’s incident command center inside City Hall, signed a disaster declaration for the city. Washington County Administrator Dean Cox said he had provided copies of it to the state of Utah and to County Emergency Services Director Pete Kuhlmann, and that the county would Continue Reading