Google contractors break sewer line, woman upset with city’s response

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RAYTOWN, Mo. -- A Raytown woman blames Google Fiber for breaking her sewer line, and she said getting in touch with anyone from the tech giant has proved next to impossible. Crews finally responded on Friday to fix the line, but not before causing a massive ordeal.

When Raytown landed Google’s high-speed fiber internet service, it was cause for celebration. But now that the cable is being installed, at least one homeowner here said it's anything but a good deal.

“The average person, you can't get a phone number, you can't get a name, you can't get anything,” resident Kay Ficklin said.

Ficklin said she spent hours on the phone trying to get her bathrooms back in service. She said a contractor for Google Fiber ruptured her sewer line on Wednesday and raw sewage backed up into her basement.

She said trying to get Google, the contractor or the city to fix it has been a nightmare.

“It’s been very frustrating. Not only have I been without my bathrooms, I have an autistic son, who's pretty involved and you know they have to have everything the same all the time. Because we can't use our bathrooms he's not eating or drinking because he's afraid. It's been days,” Ficklin said

Ficklin said after many calls to city hall, workers arrived to repair the sewer on Friday. City leaders say the fiber is actually being installed in the easement, which is city-owned property. The city said that it prefers that Google install its fiber optic lines underground and will respond to any line breaks.

“They should it expect it to be fixed fairly quickly, or as quickly as we can. They can call city hall development department or public works and tell them what is happening; we'll get on it as soon as possible,” Raytown Public Information Officer Brenda Gustafson said.

Raytown city leaders said Google has been good to work with, and although ruptures like this one are rare, they say homeowners should expect repairs within 24 hours.

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