The recent bout of El Nino storms wreaked havoc on many San Carlos homes, and residents are placing the blame on the city of San Diego.
On Tuesday, a storm drain burst, letting loose a torrent of water onto Cabaret Street. At least eight homes received extensive flooding damage.
Guy Lawyer, whose mother owns one of the damaged homes, recorded cellphone video as the raging river from the pipe ripped through her backyard and home. The water knocked down fences as it moved downhill to other houses.
“The well just blew out,” Lawyer said. “It was a waterfall, smacked up against… the hill smacked up against our house, so I ran out into the garage; we have a side door. The water's coming into the garage, literally flowing through like a river.”
When the flood receded, Lawyer was left with frustration. He said he and other residents warned the city about the problematic drain back in October. However, when crews came out, they did not make any repairs.
A city official told NBC 7 repairs were not needed at the time.
To make matters worse, the damage to each home is not covered by insurance because it was caused by an external, faulty pipe.
“It’s a disaster and it happened. It could have been prevented if the city had repaired the pipe up the street,” said another San Carlos victim Joan McCollum.
Now, Lawyer and others are scrambling to salvage property and to figure out how to deal with the thousands of dollars in devastation.
“It’s heartbreaking,” said Lawyer. “What do you do? I’m not a pro. I don’t know what to do. You’re just trying to survive.”
Residents said city officials have visited them and told them to save all their repair receipts so they can possibly be reimbursed.
The homeowners told NBC 7 the city has been helpful, but they are still left with a huge cleanup and anticipate a lot of bureaucratic red tape – everything, they believe, could have been avoided. City investigators are determining liability.