Family recounts night their bedrooms flooded and the response days after

Displaced Abbotsford family being supported by Telus, which may have had hand in broken water main

This home was flooded by a broken water main early Saturday morning

Dorian Clark was jolted awake by a loud bang shortly after 2 a.m. Saturday morning.

The 22-year-old carpenter looked out his open bedroom door to see water rushing down the hallway towards him.

“Is this really happening? Is this really happening?” he said to himself. “Are you serious?”

Moments later, his mattress had become a raft, floating around his bedroom. He heard a sparking noise and began unplugging electronics from the wall. Afraid of electric shocks from the water, he didn’t want to get off the bed.

Clark’s cousin, Conner Blyan-Labiche, woke in much the same way in the adjacent bedroom.

He ran down the hallway and tried to get out the door to the garage, but the water rushing in prevented that. He went upstairs and out the front door with his mom, Tracey Blyan, and younger siblings, Arianna and Jamario.

By this time, Clark was still floating on his mattress four or more feet above the ground.

A police officer, who had had been driving by, spotted a geyser submerging the area and home. He knocked on the front door to alert the family and came around to Dorian’s window.

The officer was about to break the window to get him out, but Dorian was able to open it and crawl out.

As the family gathered outside, they saw the source of the flooding: a water main between the home’s property and Jackson Street had burst, and thousands of gallons of water were gushing out, turning their yard into a lake.

“I didn’t know what to think … by the time I got out, the whole lawn was covered and we were almost knee-deep in water,” said Tracey Blyan, who had just moved herself, her three kids (Conner, Arianna and Jamario) and nephew (Dorian) into the central Abbotsford home less than two weeks before.

The family spoke to The News Sunday afternoon, as they picked through the muddy debris in their basement. Dorian’s collection of baseball hats, which were hanging high on the wall, were virtually his only belongings not soaked and muddied.

Dorian and Conner lost a gaming console and TV each. Their beds and couches are unsalvageable. Dorian picked through his clothing, laying it on the front lawn, hoping the items will be wearable after they’re washed and dried.

They had no rental insurance.

“I’m lost,” Tracey said, on Sunday. “I’m hurt because my kids have nothing. We have nothing left. I don’t know where to go.”

The family has been staying in a local motel, paid for by Emergency Social Services.

A restoration company, called in by the landlord, has informed Tracey that it will be an estimated three months before the lower floor is livable again and work can’t start until she completely clears it of the debris and soaked furniture and appliances.

On Tuesday morning, Tracey told The News she didn’t know how she would get the job done.

But hours later, she had a happy update she described as “the best news ever.”

A representative from Telus told her the company would be taking care of all their needs.

According to Tracey, this includes replacements for Conner’s glasses and Dorian’s work clothes; rent in a temporary new home; hiring a crew and renting bins to clear out the basement and store unaffected furniture and belongings from top floor; and food vouchers and bus passes to get the family all to and from work and school.

Telus said the water main break appears to have been caused by a concrete-filled post installed on Oct. 18 to protect its equipment.

“We’ve been told that our contractor did a proper ‘call-before-you-dig’ locate… and that the water main was not identified in that search,” said Telus spokesperson Richard Gilhooley, in an email.

“Nor was it visible during the excavation.

“We won’t let that uncertainty hamper recovery for the residents affected, and will ensure they are taken care of without delay.”

Gilhooley said Telus will be doing a full review of the incident to ensure it can avoid something similar from happening in the future.

The City of Abbotsford is also investigating the cause of the water main break, according to spokesperson Tracy Boudreau.

A GoFundMe for the family had raised $565 at time of writing, a link to which can be found on AbbyNews.com.

 

Just Posted

UPDATE: Abbotsford woman reported missing from Chilliwack has been found

Alexis Neill, 26, located safe and sound, police say

Event supports women’s centre that is at risk of having to move

Abbotsford women’s recovery program holds annual Victory Walk

Son of slain former Hells Angel is one of two men sentenced for crime spree

Pair’s 2017 series of robberies included convenience store in Abbotsford

The Offspring and Sum 41 announce show in Abbotsford

Bands play Abbotsford Centre on Nov. 30 as part of Canadian leg of current tour

UFV men’s basketball hosting NCAA’s Roadrunners

Cascades challenging Cal State Bakersfield in exhibition game on Monday

Clean the house, prep for your next trip: Tips to nix the post-vacation blues

48 per cent of travellers are already stressed about ‘normal life’ while still on their trip

Couple could go to jail for taking 88 lbs. of Italian sand

Pair said they didn’t know it was illegal to take the sand, which is protected as a public good

More women may need breast cancer gene test, U.S. guidelines say

Recommendations aimed at women who’ve been treated for BRCA-related cancers and are now cancer-free

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft: RCMP

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

VIDEO: RCMP unveil new, state-of-the-art forensics lab

The laboratory is expected to handle thousands of forensic services from across Canada annually

Scheer promises EI tax credit for new parents if Conservatives form government

The government currently taxes employment insurance benefits for new parents

Border agents carry out raid at Hastings Racecourse

Dozens were spoken to, witnesses say

Most Read