Family returns from vacation to find Illinois home flooded, frozen

LAKE IN THE HILLS, Ill. —  The bitterly cold weather that has  gripped the Midwest can be hard on the water pipes in homes – something one suburban Illinois family found out after returning from a Florida vacation.

Vanessa and Max Carranza had been enjoying a winter getaway with their two daughters in the Sunshine State, where they visited family and Disney World.

All the while, the greater Chicago area was in the 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.

When they returned from Florida Thursday, the signs of trouble were there on the front porch.

“A neighbor heard water pouring from our roof,” Vanessa Carranza told WGN after she returned to find burst pipes had severely damaged the family's home in Carranzas Lake in the Hills.  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."

The surface of the walls bubbles and blisters in sections while water drips easily through leaking floors and ceilings.

“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.