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Nightmare just beginning for homeowners impacted by Denver water main break

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Posted at 6:16 AM, May 02, 2022

DENVER — Sunday marked one week since a water main break flooded about 50 homes in the Berkeley neighborhood. While the water is finally gone, the nightmare is just beginning for some homeowners.

"It's devastating," Rose Gonzales said. "I haven't rested. I haven't slept. My anxiety level is through the roof."

She never thought her home of nearly three decades could look the way it does now.

"They finally drained all the water, which took almost a week. There was so much water down there," she said. "They have to cut the walls because the water seepage came up through the walls, so they have to mitigate all the walls. They're taking out flooring."

The flooding was so bad that it even separated the foundation. Cracks around the house show sunlight seeping through.

"I think the biggest concern is the structure of the home. I mean, we're not going to see it for months, maybe years," Gonzales said.

Denver Water hired contractors to fix the home. And while those crews work inside, a pod parked outside contains some of Gonzales' belongings. She's still not sure what is salvageable.

"I know people say, 'Oh, you can replace this.' There are some heirlooms, family heirlooms, that can't be replaced," she said.

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

"We can't buy a 2017 with 80,000 miles for what [the insurance company is] giving us," Gonzales said.

Until the work is complete, it'll be a while before she gets to go back home. She's currently staying in hotels paid for by Denver Water.

"By looking at what [the contractors] are doing, we're not going to be in here for months," Gonzales said.

While she remains confident Denver Water will stand by its word to make things right, only time will tell.

"I fought for my country, and now I'm fighting for my house," Gonzales, a Navy veteran, said. "I'm literally fighting for my house."

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

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

About 50 homes were impacted by the flooding, and Denver Water has received about a dozen claims for vehicles that were damaged.