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Homecoming for East End family delayed after water main breaks and floods home a second time

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Posted at 4:00 PM, Feb 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-22 19:30:29-05

CINCINNATI — Ashley Crabb found the generosity of her friends and neighbors under water Saturday after one of the city's largest water mains broke and flooded her family's home for the second time in two months.

"We started getting somewhere with donations from the community," Crabb told WCPO. Come Saturday morning, much of that kindness was "under water again."

Before dawn on Saturday, Feb. 20 -- when temperatures were near their most frigid after weeks of winter precipitation and arctic-like winds -- the 60-inch water main running along Riverside Drive broke.

It was the second time the main failed this calendar year: When it broke on Jan. 2, it filled the Crabbs' basement with 5 feet of water. Seven weeks later, that water line rose just above the family's stove.

"The 60" main had recently been put back into service after repair of the initial break," Greater Cincinnati Water Works officials said in a written statement issued Monday afternoon.

"We're trying our best to save the things we can save. That's all we can do," Crabb said. "It gets a little bit harder each time it happens."

Gretchen Bayer teaches one of Crabb's children. She said the timing adds insult to injury because the family was about to get to go home.

"It's like a major setback. They were so close to moving back in, and most of the funds are gone now that we collected, and at this point we don't even know what to do," she said.

Since the January main break, GCWW has accommodated the family in a hotel, but it is located 17 miles away from their East End home. That makes for a two-hour bus ride to school for the kids and a 45-minute drive to work for their grandmother.

GCWW officials did not indicate what caused the water main to break a second time, but said in the statement, "Crews remain on-site to evaluate and assess the necessary repairs. There are no service or customer outages as a result of this break."