Couple's repeatedly flooded condo

January 16, 2008 3:15:28 PM PST
An elderly couple in Lawrenceville has been flooded out again...and again.Early Monday morning at the Eagle Chase condos, a laundry pipe burst. This sent water cascading into the home of 73-year-old Hannelore Merrick and her 83-year-old husband Willie, who has Alzheimers.

"It just totally flooded the whole entire ceiling, my parent's floors and walls. It's just destroying their whole life," the couple's daughter Janet Merrick said.

Hannelore is not only upset over the damage, but she says that this is the ninth or tenth time in seven years they've suffered some kind of water damage allegedly caused by the tenant upstairs.

Problems caused from leaks in his 125-gallon fish tank, to the toilet, to the washing machine, to, now, the burst hose.

"This guy is killing me, destroying everything we have, because where will we start up again? My husband's sick and I'm not in the best health," Hannelore said.

The upstairs resident is Michael Huttner, a computer manager who works in New York. Action News reached him by phone. Huttner acknowledged there have been several major leaks and says he'd be upset, too.

He called Monday's incident "the worst coincidence you could have," but says he doesn't know how he could have prevented the laundry hose leak. He also says he's dismantled the fish tank as per an agreement with the condo association and the Merrick's lawyer.

Since the latest flood, the Merrick's have been forced out of their home and are staying with relatives. It could be weeks before their place is cleaned up and repaired.

"I don't have the money to move," Hannelore said.

In the meantime, the Merricks are trying to cope and have contacted not just their insurance company but their lawyer, again.