St Ives couple left devastated after house completely floods two days before Christmas Day
- Credit: Andrew Purvis
A couple from St Ives have been left devastated after their bungalow completely floods two days before Christmas Day.
On December 23, a major flood warning was put in place across Huntingdonshire when heavy rain hit the county.
Places such as Ramsey, Alconbury, St Neots, Huntingdon and St Ives were badly affected.
It was a Christmas that Rachel and Andrew Purvis, from St Audrey Lane in St Ives will never forget.
On the eve of December 23, the couple saw water flooding through their back garden at a fast rate, up to the entrance of the house.
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The brook behind the house had burst and the water quickly crept into the house.
To make matters worse, the sewer drain in the garage then also started overflowing creating more flooding.
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Rachel and Andrew, luckily prepared with three pumps, immediately started pumping water out of their house.
Rachel said: “We had flooded twice in August at the back of the house in the garden, but it had never come into the house before.
“Thank goodness we had the water pumps there, it was really frightening seeing all the water coming in.
“We were pumping 500 litres of water every minute out of the house and we even had to get a bigger petrol pump to help as well.
“We started pumping water out onto the main road, as it couldn’t really go anywhere else.
“We were really shocked that some motorists actually shouted abuse at us, as they drove past, not realising we were in a desperate situation.
Rachel called Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service and the Environment Agency for help, but no one arrived, so they carried on pumping water out themselves.
After 24 hours they managed to clear all the water from the house.
The water damage was so bad in the house, that all the flooring now needs to be replaced and a new kitchen fitted, which they have to claim through their insurance.
Despite the devastation caused, Rachel said: “I was overwhelmed by the St Ives public’s response, they all wanted to help, which was so kind.
“People I didn’t even know came round with cups of tea and offered to cook for us.”
A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: “Our thoughts are with those affected by the recent floods. Environment Agency teams have been working 24/7 alongside the emergency services and local partners to check and operate defences and support those who have been flooded, reduce the risk of further flooding, keep people informed and keep communities safe through the holiday period.
"We take all reports of flooding seriously and try to give individual advice wherever we can, but when there are a significant number of properties at risk we rely on people to act on the detailed advice issued in our Flood Warnings."
A fire service spokesman said: “The flooding over the Christmas period saw many properties flooded with several inches of water, as well as roads being submerged around the county. Between Wednesday December 23 and Christmas Day morning, our Combined Fire Control dealt with more than 600 incidents across Cambridgeshire and Suffolk.
A fire service spokesman said: “The flooding over the Christmas period saw many properties flooded with several inches of water, as well as roads being submerged around the county.
"Between Wednesday December 23 and Christmas Day morning, our Combined Fire Control dealt with more than 600 incidents across Cambridgeshire and Suffolk.
“In conditions such as this we have to base our response on risk, especially as we only have a limited amount of crews available to respond, both to the spate conditions and other emergencies.
"In some cases our crews are not able to assist with flooding.
"There has to be in excess of 150mm of water before our equipment can be used to pump water away, and we have to be able to pump it somewhere without it having a detrimental effect elsewhere.
"We will always respond when there is an immediate threat to life."