North Texas

Sewage Fills North Texas Grandmother's Home, Insurance Denies Claim

A Lake Worth great-grandmother is at her wits' end with what to do about all of the raw sewage in her house.

"It's driving me crazy. I'm used to being clean," said Rosie Harrist, 89, while standing in the hallway of her home that is still coated in sewage two weeks after the incident. "I can't stand this crap."

Harrist said she was in her sewing room Sept. 10 when sewage began to back up from her toilet, bathtub and just about everywhere else "like a waterfall."

A call to the city of Lake Worth brought municipal workers out almost immediately, according to the city manager.

A blockage beneath a nearby manhole had stopped the sewer line flow, causing the backup into Harrist's home, City Manager Brett McGuire said Wednesday.

When the workers snaked the line, the blockage was revealed to be a trophy that had somehow become lodged in the line.

Harrist said she did not appreciate the reward she received.

"It was horrible," Harrist said.

But what happened next has been even more disappointing to Harrist.

A claim filed with the Texas Municipal League Intergovernmental Risk Pool, the insurer for the City of Lake Worth, was denied because the "damages and/or injuries you are alleging were not caused by any wrongful act, omission or negligence on the part of Lake Worth or any of its employees," according to a letter delivered to Harrist this week.

Her own homeowners insurance company, Farmer's Insurance, also denied Harrist's claim.

"Your policy unfortunately does not provide coverage for damage which is caused by water, reverse flow water and sewage which backs up from sewers and drains. Unfortunately there is no coverage for your claim," reads a letter from Farmer's to Harrist.

The claims specialist for the city's insurance company told Harrist it will likely cost several thousand dollars to rip up the damaged carpets, floorboards and sheet rock, according to Harrist.

The city manager said Wednesday that despite the insurance company's denial of coverage, he and other city leaders are willing to work with Harrist to somehow help to cover the cost of the damage.

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