82-year-old Gladstone homeowner upset the city won’t pay for repairs after water main break flooded her home

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GLADSTONE, Mo. -- 82-year-old Colleen Belcher said her house was flooded and nearly destroyed after a water main break in the city of Gladstone.

She says she’s more than $24,000 in debt after fixing all the damage.

Her daughter, Robin Johnson, put up a sign outside the home that reads, “The city refuses to pay for all flood damage to my home from water main break,” to warn the community after they say the city refused to cover to total cost of damages.

“They told me, ma'am, your garage is flooded from a water main break across the street,” Belcher said about the police that showed up at her door on June 2.

Belcher has lived in her home for 60 years, but the night police showed up at her door at 3 a.m. is a nightmare she's still reliving.

“Everything was ruined,” Belcher added.

Her whole house was flooded, with between 3-4 inches of standing water. All her furniture, ruined.

“I've had to replace my carpets, the kitchen floor, did a lot of painting, it's been a great, great expense that I cannot afford,” Belcher said.

“I couldn't believe. It just looked like a war zone,” Johnson recalled.

Johnson said it flooded almost every room of her mom's home. Between the clean-up and fixing the home back to the condition it was in before, Belcher was out more than $24,000.

“We didn't get anything but a small offer, and it would not cover damage,” Belcher explained. “They offered $10,000 and I spent $10,000 in the first three days.”

Belcher rejected the city's offer to pay $10,000. She insists the city is to blame, but Gladstone's insurance company said the city was not liable for the break, which happened across the street from Belcher's driveway.

“It's not enough to replace what I have lost. I was asleep, this is not my fault. It's the city's fault,” Belcher said.

Gladstone also pointed to a claim it says the Belcher's submitted to their own homeowner's insurance -- also denied.

None of that changes the concern and the dismay from a longtime resident.

“I'm on a fixed income, and I have put myself in debt, and it's really scaring me and worrying me,” Belcher added.

Johnson wants to warn others that if the city has another water main break, and it damages your home, you could be in the same boat as her mother.

She put up this sign out of frustration to warn others in Gladstone.



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