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Residents assess extensive damage after water main break near Hawley Road

Posted at 5:39 PM, Dec 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-29 18:39:52-05

MILWAUKEE-- Early Sunday, crews were back on the scene of a water-main break near I-94 and Hawley Road in Milwaukee, trying to figure out what caused the mess.

The Milwaukee Department of Public Works said crews installed a new valve Saturday night to restore water service to residents living in the area. Crews were seen excavating and and repairing the main early Sunday.

The water main broke Saturday morning, sending water rushing from Hawley Road down near the intersection of 60th and Dixon and the surrounding streets, turning a neighborhood virtually into a lake. Randy Lancour was in disbelief that his treasured goods and family heirlooms were all gone, covered in muck.

“I lost everything. All of my childhood things that I had that were supposed to go to my son. Lost,” Lancour said. "It's gut-wrenching. It's heartbreaking," he said.

24 hours after the incident occurred, mud can be seen scattered across sidewalks and streets. Lancour and his neighbors were out assessing the damage. Flood waters reached six feet high at his family’s home, wiping out their basement and their backyard.

“It’s a mud-pit now,” Lancour said.

His mom's truck is considered beyond repair, with water filling the headlights. Across the neighborhood, people had similar stories of loss. Everything from furniture to mattresses, clothing and electronics were abandoned on the sidewalks.

However, residents like Israel Ramirez remained optimistic.

“All of this is material. My family's fine. I'm fine,” Ramirez said.

Melanie Stenshaug agreed, hoping to spread some positivity to her neighbors.

“Some things are replaceable, other things aren't, but you make new memories, that's all you can do,” Stenshaug said.

It’s a good reminder as the community tries to heal.

"We're a family that stays together. We rebuild together,” Lancour said.

Hawley remains closed to traffic as work continues.

The City of Milwaukee encourages anyone with damage from the flooding to file a claim. For more information click here.