Water heater bursts, causes ceiling collapse and complaints in Southeast Memphis

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A collapsed ceiling in a Southeast Memphis home is causing the family who lives there to question the overall safety of the building.

The renter says she’s already paid October’s rent and feels the house on Brentwood Circle is unlivable. She wants out of her lease, but the property manager says otherwise.

“When it fell all down, I’m noticing this is a nest and so these are things I’m hearing crawling in the walls and stuff,” said Lillie Walker as she pointed to her damaged ceiling.

Walker was relaxing at home Tuesday morning when her water heater burst, collapsing her ceiling and sending water  all over.

“I’m panicking, I don’t know who to call because I’ve never had anything like this happen.”

She called her landlord and the Memphis Fire Department to respond to the mess.

She says she’s only lived there about four months, but the hornets and the nest in her now-exposed ceiling have her wanting to move.

“I have a special-needs daughter; I don’t want her in this.”

She says she worries the house also has electrical problems and requested her property manager put her in a different place until everything’s repaired.

However, the manager told her they can’t do that.

“We have no reports of the property being unlivable. Is it uncomfortable? Yes,” said a manager with Leco Realty, Inc. over the phone.

The manager said they called a plumber to pull the water heater and extract the water, and says another contractor is coming to assess the ceiling.

“At this point, we’re doing everything we can to get the problem fixed,” he said.

He also said they’d add a temporary cover for the ceiling at some point Tuesday.

But Walker says she’s going to look into breaking her three-year lease, too worried about the well-being of her 12-year-old daughter with special needs.

“I don’t want to be in this house,” said Walker. “Even after they fix it, it’s just not a good house.”

A city spokesperson says they’ll also send someone out to inspect the house soon.

If you have similar issues in your neighborhood, you can report them to the city at 3-1-1.