Family still in limbo due to burst main wrecking house

A FAMILY washed out of their house nine months ago when a major water main burst are still fighting to return to their home.

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UNDER WATER: House in Cluny Drive after huge main burst
UNDER WATER: House in Cluny Drive after huge main burst

Claire and David Leishman and their two sons, aged six and 10, had been living in the detached three-bedroom bungalow for only eight weeks when it was hit by a flood.

Up to eight feet of contaminated water poured into their home when the 3ft-wide mains pipe, which runs under Maryhill Road and carries water from Loch Katrine, ruptured last July.

Around 23,000 homes across the city and Bearsden were left without water.

But the Leishmans' property, in Cluny Drive, Bearsden, which was the first to be hit by the torrent after it swept through Cluny Park and engulfed their cul-de-sac, was the worst affected.

The force of the water buckled a metal garage door as it poured into their garden and others surrounding it.

The family had to be rescued by emergency services and were lifted over a neighbour's fence by firefighters.

They lost everything except the few items that could be salvaged before they had to flee. Their car, a Vauxhall Vectra, was swamped and had to be written off.

Even now, the family are staying in temporary accommodation more than a mile away from their home.

Damage to their house ran to six figures and the building has been reduced to a shell with "hazard" signs in the windows.

The family say their insurance pay-out has not met the cost of replacing everything that has been lost and claim an offer from Scottish Water also falls short.

The family are also around £2000 out of pocket for increased travel and child-care costs caused by the relocation.

They say Scottish Water will not compensate them for this consequential loss.

But the family also feel they should be compensated for the inconvenience and their time spent with contractors and insurance companies as they work to get their home back to a liveable state. Mr Leishman, 45, said: "Under the legislation, Scottish Water is liable for the damage and an Act also states it should pay us full compensation.

"We feel this should include compensation for all the cost incurred by us as a result of the mains burst, including consequential loss."

Mrs Leishman, 39, added: "Our lives have been completely turned upside down. What happened to us and our home is the stuff of nightmare and it was through no fault of our own.

"We are still not able to get back home because of the scale of the damage. Every inch of the house needed work.

"The fact we are fighting over compensation is sickening."

Scottish Water has now fixed the main, which Mr Leishman believes is more than 100 years old, but the family wants assurances this will never happen to them, or any other family, again.

Homes were damaged when the same main burst in 1986.

But Scottish Water has previously insisted the incidents are not connected.

Mrs Leishman re-lived the day when their house was devastated.

She said: "We were woken at 5am by a running-water noise and I couldn't believe my eyes when I looked outside.

"The water was rising fast so I grabbed a case and filled it with whatever I could get my hands on.

"Our main concern was for the children. Our youngest son grabbed his teddy."

The family, who were put up in a hotel before temporary accommodation was arranged through their insurance company, were left with little more than the clothes on their backs.

But Mrs Leishman added: "What upsets me the most is we have lost wedding photographs and pictures of the children when they were babies.

"You can never put a monetary value on these things and they can never be replaced.

"The children lost everything too. How do you explain to a wee boy he has lost all his toys? It is heartbreaking."

A spokesman for Scottish Water said: "We have apologised to the customer for the inconvenience and difficulties encountered as a result of this burst water mains.

"This has been a complex matter which has been processed as quickly as possible.

"A claims-handling firm and loss adjuster were appointed to review the damage incurred and work with the customer to seek an appropriate settlement for the losses and inconvenience experienced, as is normal practice.

"A full investigation took place into the circumstances of the burst water mains and possible contributory factors, such as ground conditions and movement, were identified.

"The mains itself is in a good condition and, as part of our ongoing work to ensure our network is operating effectively, we have continued to monitor our assets in the area."

linzi.watson@ eveningtimes.co.uk

Families

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