HAMMOND | Dozens of pizzas brought in by the owners of Hasse Construction helped create an atmosphere for open discussions Friday on the 6600 block of California Avenue.
That’s where residents continue dealing with the aftermath of raw sewage and water that poured into their basements starting Wednesday night in torrential rains. The Calumet City-based construction company has been doing road and sewer replacement work along this portion of the Hessville neighborhood for about a month.
Company construction manager John Hasse met with residents at 5:30 p.m. to let them know about what happened and about the help that’s being offered by the company.
Although the investigation is still underway, Hasse said apparently the rains swept sand into a sewer line, blocking the flow and causing the backup of sewer water and sewage into basements.
Two side streets that run east and west are lower than the north-south California Avenue, he said.
“We are all frustrated with the situation, and we’re not quite sure whose fault it is yet,” Hasse said.
That uncertainty isn’t stopping the company from helping residents deal with the aftermath, he said.
Hasse said the company received the initial call about the sewer backup at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday.
“Our crews arrived at 11:30 p.m. and worked all night,” he told residents.
Resident Art Vazquez said workers from the Hammond Street Department were able to open the sewer line, allowing the water in basements to drain.
What’s left smells horrible, said 70-year-old Carol Furdeck, who has lived in her home for 46 years and said she’d never experienced any flooding until Wednesday.
Her daughter, Gina Furdeck, came Friday to help her parents begin cleaning out their basement, which includes a new addition with carpeting and furniture.
“I wore a mask and gloves. I don’t know what will happen if you breathe in what’s down there,” Gina Furdeck said.
Hasse Construction is providing assistance with that cleanup by retaining the services of restoration companies. Residents can remove their belongings if they are able to, John Hasse said.
The restoration work will focus on cleaning and drying out the basements as well as making sure there’s no bacteria left behind.
In addition, the company is offering to pay for hotel rooms for those homeowners who don’t want to stay in their houses.
“The right thing is to help these people,” Hasse said.