71,000 Litres of water pumped out of basement following water line break

A water line in Saskatoon’s Mayfair neighbourhood broke on Thursday afternoon causing damage to multiple dwellings, including one home where the basement was completely submerged and required 71,000 litres of water to be pumped out.

“(Our) initial assessment wasn’t very good, because water was pouring out of the windows in the basement, over the foundation, and out the doors. The city was trying to get the water turned off to the location but was having a little bit of trouble with freeze up at the time,” said disaster technician Waneta Goldstein,. “There’s extensive damage to the basement, it was full right up to the ceiling,” she added.

City repair crews were on the block Friday doing what they could to repair the damage. According to the city, the watermain in the area dates back from 1956. However, this is only the second time that it’s broken since being installed.

“Generally speaking water losses are covered by insurance. A watermain break that comes from outside the house would still be covered by home owners insurance as long as the building isn’t vacant, under construction, or as long as they have coverage in place,” said insurance broker Bill Schwandt.

In this case the home certainly wasn’t vacant; an 83-year-old woman lived in the house by herself. According to a family member, she was upstairs in the home, and didn’t even realize that her basement was filling with water.  Luckily a passing neighbour noticed both the water and the woman, ran up to her home and let her know that water was pouring out of her basement.

“She was very distraught,” said Goldstein “she felt like everything was taken away from her, and, really, she was in shock.”

Although flooding or as it’s known in insurance terms “water escape” is a common occurrencen for insurance brokers to deal with on an annual basis, one of this magnitude is rare.

“The large ones, I would say that probably, in a brokerage like ours, we probably see six or seven that would be well in excess of 100,000 dollars,” said Schwandt. ‘Insurance companies, over the last few years in Saskatchewan and Alberta are paying more money out in claims, than they’re taking in, in premiums. So, if you think that it will never happen to you, think again.  It (doesn’t) happen to everybody, but, it happens to most people at some point,” he continued.
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