Local family back home after sewer back-up made house unlivable

When Brian and Casey Brown brought their new son Owen home from the hospital after his birth on Feb. 13, they had no idea they'd be leaving in a hurry in less than two weeks.

On Sunday afternoon, Feb. 27, with family over to see the new baby, the Browns discovered a sewer back-up on the first floor of their home on Wea Street in De Soto.

"My step-mom had gone to change the baby and heard water running, she just thought it was the toilet and called me to come check," Brian Brown said. "I went to take a look and was shocked to see that it was way worse than just the toilet running."

Raw sewage had backed up into the first level of the in-fill home and was starting to drain into the basement.

"I flipped the clean-out drain to release the pressure and sent everything into the yard," Brian said.

Because the Brown's home is the first on their block, Brian's quick actions likely saved his neighbors from similar damage. The damage to the Brown's home made it unlivable, especially for a newborn.

"I sent Casey and the baby away right away," Brian said. "She took enough time to fill a diaper bag and then left, we weren't taking any chances of Owen getting sick."

Casey Brown and two week-old Owen spent the next week living with close friends Steve Chick, Jr. and his wife Jennifer while Brian toughed it out and remained at the house to care for the family's dogs.

"I was worried and stressed out about inconveniencing someone else with a newborn, he screams and needs fed all the time but Steve and Jennifer were more than accommodating," Casey said. "We were also able to still see Brian for meals and that helped."

While Casey and Owen stayed with the Chicks, Brian began doing what he could to repair the house himself and get his family back under one roof. After professional cleaning crews eliminated the health risks from the raw sewage that destroyed the family's basement and caused severe damage to most of the first floor, it was time to hang new sheetrock and paint the walls.

"I did as much as I could myself, mostly to save money," Brian said. "It's not the most professional work but it's what we could afford."

The Brown's insurance company paid out $5,000 up front for structural damages to the home and will pay up to another $5,000 for material damages but hasn't "cut the check yet," according to Brian. The rough total of the damages comes to $23,800, more than double what the insurance company will provide.

To assist the Browns in recovering from this unexpected expense, the De Soto City Council approved giving the Browns a $10,000, interest-free loan.

"The loan from the city helps tremendously, without it we wouldn't be back home and I would have had to give up my maternity leave," Casey said. "Thanks to the council I'll still get my full, seven weeks with Owen, it would have broken my heart to go back earlier."

"It was great of the city to help and I think they wanted to help more, but I understand their hands are sort of tied as a city," Brian said. "The mayor in particular has been very helpful and has doen whatever he could."

The Browns took the loan money from the city and opened an account at First Community Bank in De Soto. The account is named "The Brian and Casey Brown house fund" and is open for donations.

"I can't say enough how appreciative we are of the support we've received from the city and the community," Casey Brown said. "It's very nice to be back home and together."

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