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Toilet Explosion Rocks Pine City Home: 'It Was Like Old Faithful'

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A central Minnesota family dealing with a plumbing nightmare says they were getting nowhere with city officials.

Rita Sanders says when water shot out of the toilet in her Pine City home last Wednesday, it felt like an earthquake.

"In an instant, it's pressure, it's noise," Rita said. "It was like Old Faithful."

The incident knocked a painting off its hanging, left Sanders' home with some water damage, and her sleeping husband ended up hurt.

"It startled him so bad that when he got up, he hit the dresser with his forehead, so he's got a nice little 'V' [cut]," Rita said.

Outside at the time were Pine City Public Works employees, who Rita feels are responsible. She says this is the second time this has happened in the last few years.

Pine City Water Tower
(credit: CBS)

Neighbors didn't experience the same unusual blast of water.

"It made me sad for them, because I know they had that trouble before," said Pat Kempenich, who lives across the street.

Scott Hildebrand, the city administrator, says the workers were jetting the sewer line, a way to clean it out using high-pressure water streams. Hildebrand said typically the work doesn't affect individual homes.

He wishes Sanders would've called immediately following the incident. She chose to send a letter instead in order to have communication about the problem in writing.

Hildebrand said WCCO's call was the first he heard of the incident, although Sanders says she spoke to someone in city offices who received her letter last week. He says Sanders and her husband will soon be able to file a claim with the city's insurance.

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