NORFOLK, Va. — Last weekend’s winter weather caused a lot of problems for Hampton Roads residents.
Scores of people in our area, and across the state, reported freezing and bursting pipes.
Residents of the Liberty Military Housing (LMH) complex off Hampton Boulevard in Norfolk said they also had problems.
Ian, a resident who asked to be known only by his first name, contacted 13News Now and said on Christmas Eve, he woke up to inches of water inside his home. The temperature outside was in the teens.
Ian said a pipe burst inside his next door neighbor’s unit, and flooded both homes for hours.
"Once we opened the door, I kind of had to jump back because there was about four, five inches on the deck in there," Ian said. “His house is totaled. It’s done. Across the street and two houses down, same story.”
In a statement provided by a spokesperson for Liberty Military Housing, noted some families have been living elsewhere since their pipes burst, and said crews at the complex are urgently responding to the situation.
“As with many residents across Hampton Roads who were impacted by the unexpected cold weather, roughly 5% of our LMH residents have also experienced the impact of the cold on their pipes, resulting in loss of pressure, or leaks… We have worked with the Navy to establish a displacement policy to ensure that families whose homes have experienced severe damage are provided with a housing alternative until repairs can be made. We currently have roughly 30 families taking advantage of this Navy policy..."
The statement said complex management warned residents about the storm and offered tips on what to do to try and avoid problems.
“In advance of the storm, we did notify families of steps that could be taken to mitigate the risk, we also sent another notification via our Emergency Notification System, ‘RedFlag,’ on Christmas Day. Our teams worked tirelessly over the holidays to mitigate any damage possible, including placing families inalternate housing and putting together a plan of action to return families to safe and restored homes as quickly as possible so they can enjoy the balance of their holidays.”
Ian said based on the amount of water in the unit, he believes the water may have been running for hours.
“It was definitely overnight. Since I woke up, my wife walked down to the kitchen and realized there was a big mess in the kitchen,” he said. “In our particular case, it was just an inch or two of water that bled in from an adjacent unit.”
It’s a widespread issue. Ian said neighbors told him other homes in that area also had pipes freeze and burst.
“Within hours of ours, I counted no more than 10 units,” he said.
Another resident, Dixie Naas, also spoke to 13News Now. She said her unit started flooding on Christmas morning.
"I was standing at my kitchen sink making Christmas cookies, and my feet got wet, it just started rolling over the baseboards," Naas said.
Both she and Ian provided cell phone videos of the damage inside their apartments.
Naas said the water came in from a neighboring unit. She said the freezing temperatures broke the pipes and damaged many homes.
“Their kitchen light collapsed, so it ruined their electricity," she said.
Both Naas and Ian said they believe the apartment complex management could have better winterized units ahead of the approaching storm to avoid issues. Naas suggested cutting off water supply to outside spigots in advance.
The LMH representative said executives there are encouraging residents to reach out directly to them about any pipe problems so they can be addressed. If you're a resident, you can contact them at 1-888-578-4141.