Village of Matteson unable to help family with flooded home

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - The subzero cold snap earlier in the week created a big headache for one south suburban family.

Frozen pipes burst in a townhome right next door, but because the townhome is empty, the water continues to seep through the wall and into the home of the family living next door.

Village officials in Matteson say there's not much they can do about it.

"Basically my neighbor flooded out my place as you can see,” Latasha Henderson said.

Henderson got anything but a warm welcome when she returned from work last Friday and discovered water pouring through the wall she shares with the townhome next door, destroying carpeting, walls, furniture and boxes of personal belongings.

"No one has gone into the residence to clean it up, so water is constantly flowing over into my place,” Henderson said.

FOX 32: It's still coming in?

"Correct,” she said.

The problem is that the townhome next door has sat empty since her neighbor left last summer and is facing foreclosure.

On Saturday, work crews from the village of Matteson shut off the water pipe going into the abandoned townhome. But no one knows how much water is still inside.

A thick blanket of ice covers the inside of the windows all the way up to the second floor, and the water continues to seep into Henderson’s home.

"I've called the village. I've called my housing association,” she said. "I've been calling everyone. Everyone is basically telling me there's nothing they can do for me."

So, FOX 32 went to Matteson's Village Hall.

"Clearly it's an unfortunate situation,” said Matteson Village Administrator Brian Mitchell. "We don't have the authority to enter that home unless there is imminent danger to someone or something or the possibility of fire where water and electricity is mixing."

But with two young kids and a husband at home, Henderson says something has to be done.

"We have nowhere else to go. This is our home. Someone should be able to get into that property or force someone to be able to. This is a safety hazard. I have little kids in this home,” she said.

The village administrator says he will send an inspector to Henderson’s home Friday to see whether there's any imminent danger that could give them the authority to get a court order. He also got ahold of the owner of the next door property who told him she is trying to get back to the Chicago area to clean up the mess.

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