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Couple takes on Carmel over home flooding

Posted at 11:50 PM, May 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-11 23:50:53-04

CARMEL, Ind. -- As the latest bout of rain hits Central Indiana, a Carmel couple is taking on the city over the way it handles flooding – claiming the city's response has ruined their home.

Amy Van Ostrand and Derek Fakehany say they loved the first three years in their historic Carmel home, which dates back to the 1860s.

But when Carmel began a major development surge in its Old Town district, they say their house began flooding on a regular basis.

In a tort claim filed against the city, Van Ostrand says it has happened at least 12 times.

"Water starts gushing over these walls like a waterfall," she said. "It's the scariest thing. When you are upstairs you can hear it pouring in."

Another blow came this April, when Fakehany was diagnosed with blood cancer. Van Ostrand says an expert warned them mold in their house could endanger Fakehany's survival – prompting them to stay with friends.

"He has gone through four rounds of therapy, and we are living like gypsies," Van Ostrand said. "And we have got mold throughout the basement at this point."

The couple says they've spent $11,000 water-proofing the basement, $6,000 on flood insurance premiums and have received estimates of $13,000 to remove the mold.

They say they don't want to move – they simply want the city to fix the drainage issues.

The director for Carmel's community relations department sent RTV6 a statement saying they couldn't comment directly due to pending litigation:

"It is important to recognize that some properties have flooding issues that are not caused by street drainage alone. We have spent a great deal of time studying this particular homeowner's issue with regard to flooding in the yard and are making some repairs to a nearby system that may have contributed to their issue. In general, cities are responsible for street drainage only and not responsible for private drainage problems."