Pipe fault floods two homes

2013-05-22 00:00

TWO Pietermaritzburg neighbours found their homes suddenly flooded on Monday when an outlet pipe from the reservoir behind their home started gushing water.

The homeowners in Woodview tried desperately to stop the torrent, but were powerless to protect their properties.

Worse followed yesterday when mop-up operations left one woman badly injured.

Tyron Nagel (13) was alone at home when the water started flooding his parent’s house. His mother was at a hospital visiting his grandfather, who has cancer.

The teen was frantic in his efforts to save the family home.

“The water started coming into the house at around half-past four in the afternoon. I ran to my neighbour for help. He and I started digging a trench at the back of my house, so the water wouldn’t come into the house, but we couldn’t stop it,” said Tyron.

“Eventually, there was so much water I had to run into the street. The street was also flooded, but I waited there because I couldn’t leave the house. Municipal workers came around later to close the valve on the pipe, but it was too late. The house was already damaged.”

The back wall of the house was seriously damaged. The worst flooding occurred in the bedroom and lounge.

Tyron’s mother, Lorraine, came to the house the following morning. While helping her son and neighbours move her furniture out, she slipped on the wet floor and injured herself. Tyron ran to his neighbour, Dianna Lucas, for help.

“Tyron came banging on my door. He was crying. He kept saying, ‘My mother broke her leg’,” said Lucas. Lorraine dislocated a hip and broke an ankle. She was taken to Northdale Hospital.

Simon Domvele, who lives behind the Nagels, also took a direct hit.

“I have lived in that spot for years, and this is the first time water came out of that pipe,” Domvele said.

“When I started building my house this year, I went to the municipality and asked them if the pipe will be a problem. They said that it is an old pipe and it won’t work. I got permission to build my house there.”

Msunduzi Municipality spokesperson Brian Zuma said: “It is highly unlikely that we could advise someone that a water pipe is no longer working when in fact it is working.

“If the pipe wasn’t working, when he submitted his building plans we would have deregistered the servitude where the non-working pipe would be located before approving the building plans.”

Woodview resident Dalron Beyers said the area frequently had water problems. “A trench was dug up last year by the reservoir so water would stop flooding the area.

“It hasn’t helped. We are still having problems.”

• annzra.naidoo@witness.co.za

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