Nfld. & Labrador

Rocky Harbour man still living in wet mouldy mess after January flood

John Grant's house was destroyed after January's flood and can't get any help from his insurance company or the government to repair his home.

John Grant can't get financial help from his insurance or disaster assistance

John Grant's house is destroyed after it flooded in January. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

John Grant's vinyl flooring squishes under his feet as he walks through his moulding kitchen.

The Rocky Harbour man's house was destroyed after it flooded in January. Months later, he still can't get help from his insurance company or the government to make repairs.

"I opened the front door and as soon as I put my foot down it was like walking on a sponge. You could feel the water in the carpet," said Grant.

John Grant shows the mould growing in his house after sewer water gushed through the home after January's flood. (Colleen Connors/CBC )

Heavy rain and warm temperatures on Jan. 13 turned all the snow on Grant's lawn into icy rivers that gushed down the street. 

He believes the town's infrastructure was bombarded with all the water and that forced sewer water up through his tub and shower, flooding his home.

"I almost broke down. It was just sewage left over. Pools of water from one end of the house to the back bedrooms, right to the back door. It was completely swamped," Grant said.

Grant says sewer water came up through his tub and shower during the heavy rains. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

Just down the road, Brenda Elford experienced the same problem.

"The water pressure broke the back water valve and I had over $20,000 in damage in the basement," she said.

Elford blames town infrastructure, pointing across the street to what she believes is the culprit.

"When that manhole bubbles up I know I'm in trouble. In January, the cover actually lifted. When the sewer backs up here, the manhole backs up and blocks the sewer outage and I go days without [being able] to flush my toilet."

Brenda Elford says she had water damage in her house as well and struggled to find financial help from government. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

Elford was able to fix the water damage in her basement, but Grant is still living in a wet mess and now mould is starting to grow up the walls.

No financial assistance for repairs

Grant says his insurance couldn't help him and the Department of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour only put him up in a hotel for a week.

CBC requested information but the province would not comment on Grant's situation, saying the disaster financial assistance program received 123 claims during the January flood and each claim is assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Water ice and snow filled Grant's rocky harbour home in January (submitted photo)

Grant applied for disaster assistance but has heard nothing.

"They announce there is money available if your insurance company doesn't cover it and so far, other than AESL, no one in government has done a thing but pass the buck," he said.

He continues to call government for help, but no one will get back to him.

"Basically in six weeks time it's going to start getting cold again, and this house has to be fixed in some way, shape or form to keep the outside outside."

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About the Author

Colleen Connors reports on western Newfoundland from CBC's bureau in Corner Brook.