Suburban family returns from warm vacation to find home flooded, frozen

LAKE IN THE HILLS -- The bitterly cold weather that has gripped the area can be hard on the water pipes in homes.

One northwest suburban family is dealing with a big mess – upon returning from vacation.

They call this a cold snap – and when it comes to the pipes in the Carranzas Lake in the Hills home that’s a pretty good description.

Vanessa and Max Carranza and their two daughters had been enjoying a winter get-away to the Sunshine State.  They were visiting Florida to see both family and Disney World and left a few days before Christmas.

All the while, the Chicago area was in throes of an extended deep freeze.  In Lake in the Hills, even on a relatively warm day, temperatures struggled to reach to 13 degrees.  The neighborhood was frozen solid along with their pipes.

“A neighbor heard water pouring from our roof,” Vanessa Carranza said.

When they returned from Florida Thursday, the signs of trouble were there on the front porch and inside, the carpet squished with floodwater.

“We think one of our pipes probably burst due to the multiple days of cold weather,” she said.  “We completely lost the ceiling.  All the drywall is down, but just from that you can see it trickled, followed the rafters, all the way into the kitchen…”

Now, the home is a mess.  The walls have bubbling and blistering while the floors and ceilings are creaking and leaking.

“We’ve got leaks everywhere,” Vanessa Carranza said. “The house is completely flooded. We’ll probably have to replace all the floors, the carpet, roof, walls.”

It can happen anytime there's extreme cold and the pipes aren’t used for days. It’s something Vanessa Carranza said she’ll never forget when she goes out of town.

“Next time we’ll definitely let a neighbor know that we’re going and maybe have somebody stop by take a look, run things for a couple of days.”

The Carranza family will stay with relatives for now as they figure out insurance and repairs.