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After water main break, East End family left wondering how to pick up the pieces

Posted at 3:07 PM, Jan 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-05 17:53:14-05

CINCINNATI — Ashley Crabb's family has been couch-surfing and staying in motel rooms since Saturday after one of the city's largest water mains broke just outside her East End home on Riverside Drive.

As they work to salvage the little they can from their now flooded basement, without insurance, they're wondering how to pick up the pieces and move forward.

"We lost everything," Crabb told WCPO. "We had drywall down there to work on the house and everything, kids' brand new Christmas presents, all of our medicine."

Cincinnati resident, Ashley Crabb speaks with WCPO on Jan. 2, 2021, hours after a broken water main flooded her East End home.

Investigators were still working Tuesday to determine what caused the 60-inch Greater Cincinnati Water Works pipeline to fail, gushing water for hours and creating a sinkhole that nearly swallowed an entire car.

Civil litigation attorney, Cory Britt said what happened to the Crabb's could have happened to anyone and that it's important to document as much as possible in the aftermath of such an incident.

"I would begin, you know, documenting what damage was done and, you know, if you can afford it, get a quote of what it would cost to fix it," Britt said. After that, submit the bill to the utility company.

"They might pay it," he said.

Crews begin assessing the scene outside a residence on Riverside Drive in Cincinnati's East End neighborhood, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021, after a water main broke in the area.

And if not, Britt said it could become a matter for the courts.

"You can file your own case in small claims court, and there is a filing fee associated with that," he said, or one could try to find an attorney who would hold any charges until the case is closed.

WCPO reached out to Greater Cincinnati Water Works to ask if the utility company would pay for damages associated with the water main break but did not immediately hear back Tuesday afternoon. The city of Cincinnati is covering lodging costs for those displaced by the flooding.