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Residents Affected by Sewage Flooding in Melrose Offered Temporary Housing

The city of Melrose, Massachusetts has offered temporary housing for several residents displaced by a sewage flooding in their homes. 

Four homes on Brazil Street were destroyed after toilets that backed up left a huge mess.

"Feces coming through our toilets," said resident Silvana Ortiz. "Spewing into our living room, hallways, bedrooms. Basically everything's destroyed. We can't live here now."

Ortiz noticed a leak outside Thursday morning, and she called city officials.

But just after crews arrived, something went haywire and the toilets started exploding.

"All the floors need to come out," said Ortiz. "The walls, the bathroom's destroyed."

Shortly before 8 p.m. Friday, Melrose officials said residents had left the four impacted homes.

The city said Department of Public Works crews responded to a potential water issue Thursday morning, finding a blockage and jetting it to restore flow, as is protocol.

"At some point during that process, sewerage [sic] surcharged back into four properties on Brazil Street," the city said in a statement.

Residents have been throwing out everything that was touched. Bags of their belongings now line the quiet neighborhood street.

"At this point, I'm kind of screwed because all my clothes, they smell like sewage," said Ortiz. "They've been in there 24 hours and they smell."

City officials said Friday night that Melrose would assume expenses for temporary lodging and storage containers put on the properties, adding that specific damage claims would be dealt with through the city's insurer.

One of the city's alderman, Shawn MacMaster, who lives in the neighborhood, visited the four homes impacted by the leak. 

“I will continue to work closely with the Administration to ensure that the neighborhood remains well-informed and that residents receive the emergency assistance and support services that they need and deserve," MacMaster said. 

City officials say they're trying to figure out why this happened in the first place.

"Unfortunately, the damage to the homes involved is extensive and could take days or weeks to repair. City officials will continue to monitor the situation, and remain in contact with the impacted residents," the city said. "At this time, the cause of this blockage and the ensuing damage remains under investigation."

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