Bristol family return from dream holiday to find their home extensively damaged by flood 

A burst pipe caused hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage
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A Bristol family has spent the last 15 months in rented accommodation after they returned from a dream holiday - to find their home was flooded.

A pipe had burst at the Underwood family's Bristol home while they were in the US - causing hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage.

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When they walked back through the door after an 18-hour journey they were met by chaos - with water still running down the stairs.

The family had to move out but are looking forward to moving back in in March - more than a year after the incident.

Their home has been transformed, with their total costs coming to £250,000, they say - which is being paid for by their insurers.

Mum Rebecca, a primary school teacher, said: “I can't tell you how relieved we were when the insurance man came round and said that they would pay out.”

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The family-of-four made it home at 9am on December 28 last year after a break in the Sunshine State. But their relief quickly turned to dismay when they uncovered the shocking scene inside.

Rebecca, husband to Mark, 46 and mum to daughter Ruby, 18, and stepson Josh, 17, said: “I opened door and immediately saw water coming down the stairs. I could see every carpet was soaking and the stairs were like a waterfall.

The ceiling in the Underwoods' main bathroom had entirely collapsed after a pipe burst while they were away in FloridaThe ceiling in the Underwoods' main bathroom had entirely collapsed after a pipe burst while they were away in Florida
The ceiling in the Underwoods' main bathroom had entirely collapsed after a pipe burst while they were away in Florida

“I was literally screaming, at the top of my lungs, my children were having to calm me and Mark down, our home had become an empty shell.”

The whole family tried to salvage what they could. In a saving grace, most of the family's sentimental possessions were spared as they were being stored in plastic storage boxes.

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Rebecca and husband Mark, who works in property, then stayed up for another 24 hours while they dealt with the insurance and sorted out places for their kids to stay.

The damage was considerable, with the house having to be “stripped back to bare breeze blocks.

Every electrical item had to be thrown away, all light fittings had to be replaced, every room had to be replastered and the ceiling in the main bathroom had entirely collapsed.

Mould grows inside the Underwood's home after a burst pipe flooded their homeMould grows inside the Underwood's home after a burst pipe flooded their home
Mould grows inside the Underwood's home after a burst pipe flooded their home

"The drying process was huge - water was spraying down from the ceiling," Rebecca said.

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To make things worse, two months after the incident, thick mould grew all over the house because of the damp.

However, a year on, the family are finally looking forward to moving back - in at the beginning of March 2024.

The property has been renovated and the total bill came to £250,000, Rebecca said. She is now urging others to make sure they are insured.

“Almost every person who I’ve told all know someone else who this has happened to. It’s not rare, we implore everyone to make sure you’re insured and please turn off your water! No one was hurt, but it’s still been very traumatic to lose your own home.”

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