Elderly woman with flooded basement needs help; answers

- A longtime Detroiter is struggling to clean up a flooded basement and find out why it happened. 

Ruby Yarbrough has lived at her home on Hampshire on the city's east side for more than 40 years. In May, strong rains left her basement a flooded mess. Older and on a fixed income - she lost a lot. 

"That's my washer and dryer - it's gone," she said. "That's my heater and my furnace - all that is gone."

Ruby showed FOX 2 where she thinks the water was coming from, as well as a rusty pipe that she claims DTE Energy installed.

Ruby says the flooding happened just days after DTE Energy installed new service lines in her home. 

They had her sidewalks all torn up for a meter project, so she called the utility right away and they sent someone out.

"He said he wanted to see where the pipes were going in," she said. "When we opened up the cabinet - the small one - he said - that's what I want to see - so that's when he told me to file a claim."

DTE Energy tells FOX 2 a supervisor went to the house and determined the flooding was not due to their work. Ruby says her home has never flooded before.

Ruby says she is not the only one having problems. Many of her neighbors down the street have flooded basements as well. 
"I'll soon be 80 years old and having to pay someone to come out and clean up your basement because that odor is terrible," said neighbor Madeline Daniels. “People should not have to live like this.”

FOX 2 contacted The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, and they responded when Ruby's basement flooded and cleared an outside sewer line so the water would drain out of her basement. 

They were sending a crew to investigate further on Friday, but say more people are experiencing basement backups because sewer pipes in these old homes have outlived their usefulness.

The city recommends those living in older homes snake their lines every year if they can't replace the pipes, but say if it's a city issue they will fix it - just call customer service.

For now, Ruby will submit claims and hope she can get some help, but she can't afford to clean up this mess.

"We've been like this since Mother's Day." she said. 

If any FOX 2 viewers own a business that can help Ruby, please let us know. 248-552-5103
Or email us at Fox2NewsDesk@foxtv.com 

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