Viewers help elderly Orange Mound man with leaky water pipes

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Sunday night at 10 p.m., Action News 5 introduced you to Orange Mound resident Joe Brown.

Instead of getting candy on Sunday, Joe Brown, 75, spent Valentine's Day trying to fix leaky water pipes.

"My water pipe busted and my commode busted and my hot water tank's gone," Brown said in Sunday's report.

Brown's pipes burst during the recent cold snap.  Friends said it happened at a time when Brown's utilities had been turned off due to a gas leak.

After Brown's utilities were turned back on there were several ruptures in his pipes.

"If he cuts it on right now, it's just water constantly running," said Brown's friend John Jackson.

Brown, an Orange Mound resident, also has problems with a leaky roof and a toilet that overflows.

After viewing Sunday night's story, Steven Zeigler's boss at Roto Rooter the story and sent his best men to help Mr. Brown.

"His gas had been cut off and his toilet had busted," Ziegler said. "He didn't have a toilet in his house. or any running water. No hot water. He had carbon monoxide coming in from the water heater into his house."

Brown had just been to the hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning.

"He was here," Ziegler said. "He didn't want to really mention anything, and nobody knew what was going on, and it took just a couple of people seeing it an calling in."

The problems were so severe, they called for an all-day job.

"Some people need help.  That's what we're here for," Ziegler said.

While Alright Plumbing donated a new toilet, Roto Rooter donated a water heater, time and labor.

At the end of the day, while his roof was still leaky, and his home drafty, Brown couldn't have been more grateful.

"It can't get any better," he said.

Meanwhile, Ziegler wondered how many other people were quietly suffering the same fate as Brown.

"How many other people are out here that a neighbor or friend hasn't called, and hasn't said something about this?" he asked.

The work doesn't come cheaply.  Typically, the job performed at Brown's house would cost almost $10,000, though the work was done there for free.

Workers plan to be back Tuesday because Brown's pipes were frozen.  Meanwhile, a charitable organization plans to go in and help with his construction problems.

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