INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Newlyweds are trying to figure out how they will pay for almost $40,000 in damages after 15 water pipes broke inside their walls.
Jimmy and Cassie Diamond bought a house on North Graceland Avenue in 2018. They planned on renovating it and either selling or renting out the property. They held off since winter was quickly approaching.
“We had never turned the water on but we made sure it was properly winterized,” Jimmy said.
When the couple returned to the property in May 2019, they went up to the front door and couldn’t believe what happened.
“It wouldn’t budge because it was so swollen,” Jimmy said. “We had to force it open.”
Inside, water was pouring out of the ceiling.
“It was like the Rainforest Café,” he recalled.
Jimmy ran through standing water and tried to turn off the water. He said he found the water meter spinning, out of control.
“Mushrooms were growing on the ceiling,” they laughed. “They looked like ears.”
The couple could see and smell mold.
“It choked you,” Jimmy said.
“The air was physically thick,” Cassie told CBS4. “You had to walk out of the house.”
Meanwhile, the paint was already peeling off the walls. Fifteen pipes had expanded and broken.
The Diamonds were panicked. Yet, another nightmare came when they received a water bill from Citizens Energy.
“The first bill I got was for $8,000. That was a complete shock because I had never turned the water on,” Cassie said.
The Diamonds were dumbfounded. They remembered turning the water off and had no idea who could have turned it on.
They contacted Citizens Energy but didn’t get the response they wanted. The company said they would be on the hook for not just $8,000 but $12,000 instead.
“It’s terrible,” Jimmy said.
With nowhere else to turn, the couple called the CBS4 Problem Solvers. Investigative reporter Angela Brauer contacted the company and within a week of investigating, a spokesperson responded with the following email:
“Our investigation indicated the home was vacant and therefore the homeowner was unable to readily identify the leak that occurred inside the home which led to the very high bill. We are cancelling the bill.”
The Diamonds will no longer need to pay the expensive water bill, but they will likely have to pay for the resulting damages.
“It’s a huge stress that we did not need during our first year of marriage,” Cassie said.
At last check, Jimmy told CBS4 they were working with a lawyer to see what alternative options they could consider.