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Metro Atlanta family of 5 tries to salvage what's left of their belonging after bursting pipes flood their home

Ruvene Castillo's Christmas holiday was abruptly interrupted when she noticed water leaking inside her apartment.

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. — Families across metro Atlanta are trying to salvage their belonging after bursting pipes flooded their homes. 

Ruvene Castillo's Christmas holiday was abruptly interrupted when she noticed water leaking inside her apartment.

"We thought it was from the bathroom, from when we left the faucets dripping," she said.

Castillo realized the dripping was coming from the ceiling. She said she initially believed her upstairs neighbors left the water running and ran to turn it off. 

"I found out that their unit was also leaking too. And that's why it was from. From their ceiling fan," Castillo said. 

The leak was coming from a neighboring apartment – where the pipes burst. Castillo said something similar happened to several of her neighbors, who suddenly found themselves in flooded apartments. 

Castillo has lived at the Oaks at New Hope Apartment Complex in Lawrenceville for four years. She said she was disappointed by what she describes as a slow response by management.

"We were told that someone was going to be coming to fix the pipes or the carpet and take care of everything. That was on Christmas Day. The person never showed up," she said. 

Castillo said she drove around trying to find a hotel that would accommodate her family and their dog as the freezing temperatures continued to pose challenges for her and her neighbors.

A few days later, she was moving into another apartment. She spent Friday attempting to salvage what she could from her old unit. 

"Multiple shelving units like bookshelves and different things like that that we had in here. We lost a four little kids' bookshelf that had nothing but books in it because the water came down on those," Castillo said.

A bulk of Castillo's belongings were on the sidewalk and the hallway and outside of her former apartment Friday as she moved what she could across the complex to her new unit. She said she's hoping she'll be able to be compensated for damage to her property. 

"We have to wait until these things play out where they are doing an insurance claim. But they say they don't know if this claim is going to cover our personal items," she said.

In the meantime, Castillo said she and her husband have tried to make things work for them and their five children. She said they're sharing the mattress from her bedroom because the children's beds sustained so much damage from the water. She's hoping she'll soon be able to replace some of the things she lost. 

11Alive has reached out to Dominium Property Management, which oversees the Oaks at New Hope, and is waiting for a response. 

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