Berkeley hotels

The nightmare has only just begun for homeowners affected by Denver’s water main break

DENVER — Sunday marked a week since a water main break flooded about 50 homes in the Berkeley neighborhood. With the water finally gone, the nightmare has only just begun for some homeowners.

“It’s devastating,” Rose Gonzales said. “I haven’t rested. I haven’t slept. My anxiety level is at an all-time high.”

She never thought her nearly three-decade-old home could look like it does now.

“They finally drained all the water, which took almost a week. There was so much water there,” she said. “They have to cut the walls because water seeps through the walls, so they have to dampen all the walls. They take the flooring off.”

The flooding was so severe that it even separated the foundation. Cracks around the house show sunlight streaming in.

“I think the biggest concern is the structure of the house. I mean, we’re not going to see it for months, maybe years,” Gonzales said.

Denver Water hired contractors to fix the house. And while those crews are working inside, a capsule parked outside contains some of Gonzales’ belongings. She still does not know what is salvageable.

“I know people say, ‘Oh, you can replace that. There are legacies, family legacies, that cannot be replaced,” she said.

In addition to the damage to her home, her two cars, she says, are totaled. And due to the current state of the used car market, replacing them will be difficult.

“We can’t buy a 2017 with 80,000 miles for what [the insurance company is] give us,” Gonzales said.

Until the job is done, it will be some time before she can go home. She currently stays in hotels paid for by Denver Water.

“Looking at this [the contractors] do, we won’t be here for months,” Gonzales said.

While she remains confident that Denver Water will stick to their word to make things right, only time will tell.

“I fought for my country, and now I’m fighting for my home,” said Gonzales, a Navy veteran. “I am literally fighting for my house.”

A Denver Water spokesperson confirmed Sunday that approximately 4 million gallons of water were lost during the main break.

Although the cause of the rupture is still unknown, Denver7 learned that a 24-inch conduit ruptured first, causing the road to collapse at West 45th Avenue and Perry Street. Then, as a result, an 8 inch pipe broke.

About 50 homes were affected by the flooding and Denver Water received a dozen claims for damaged vehicles.