Morgan Zalot

‘Everything's Damaged': Philly Homeowner Struggles After Copper Pipe Theft Causes Massive House Flood

A Northeast Philadelphia homeowner's basement was underwater on Sunday, and authorities said theft of copper pipes from a house next door was to blame.

"The basement has six feet of water in it, and everything's damaged," homeowner Kim McGinnis said. "My washer and hot water heater are underwater, and it's a brand-new washer and brand-new hot water heater. So it's a big mess."

Authorities and neighbors said that the house the copper pipes were stolen from has been vacant for some time, and that the removal of the pipes caused water to leak and flood McGinnis' house next door.

"It's been uninhabited for two years," one neighbor, Joel Diaz, said of the vacant house. "It wasn't until we started making calls a few months ago [that] someone came out [to] have it winterized ... the front door, there was no handle, so you could've just kicked it in."

Police on Sunday afternoon did not yet identify a suspect in the pipe theft.

PECO and the Philadelphia Water Department remained at the flooded home later Sunday.

McGinnis said she and other neighbors had warned about the dangers posed by the house on their block sitting vacant.

"Just terrible," McGinnis said. "We warned and warned them, but apparently they didn't want to do nothin' about it."

Contact Us