Open Window Disaster In Dickinson, North Dakota

Earlier this week, I woke up to the sound of drilling and sawing in a neighboring apartment.  I looked out my window, and I saw two commercial vacuum vans that respond to emergency flooding.  I thought, “Oh no, a pipe has burst somewhere in the building, and flooded someone’s apartment.”

Later that morning, I spoke to a workman who was removing drywall and carpet from a ground floor apartment, and I asked him what had happened.  He answered, “Last night, when the temperature was -17 degrees Fahrenheit, a resident on the second floor left a window open in a spare bedroom.  It got cold enough in that bedroom last night, for a water pipe to burst.  The water leak went all night, and the water flooded into this ground floor apartment.”

By the end of the day, I had seen that the apartment on the second floor where the water pipe had burst, had the commercial vacuum workers in and out throughout the day, but most of the damage and most of the work seemed to be taking place in the ground floor apartment.  The ground floor apartment appeared to have had carpet cut out and thrown in the dumpster, drywall cut out and thrown in the dumpster, and vacuuming done all day long.

Here are some things to consider:

  1. Who do you think will have to pay, for all of the building damage to the walls, ceilings, and flooring, the work that was performed during cleanup, and the work that will be performed to replace the walls, ceilings, and flooring?  How much do you think that this will cost, $2,000-$5,000?
  2. The resident of the ground floor apartment was away at work when all of this happened.  How would you like for 4 to 5 workmen strangers to enter your apartment while you are gone, to have to move your belongings and valuables around in order to vacuum up the water, cut out the carpet, cut out the drywall in the ceiling and walls?
  3. In the ground floor apartment, was there a television, stereo, computer, furniture, paintings, photographs, documents, that got soaked with water?  Who, if anyone, will pay for the destruction of this property?

On the one hand, if you are a person who has any chance to get ahead financially, with some savings, assets, and a good paying job, consider the consequences of being found negligent and liable in causing thousands of dollars in damage to a rental property and other residents’ property, through water damage, fire damage, or smoke damage.  This could be caused by leaving with a faucet running, leaving with a window open, leaving with the stove turned on, candles, or ashes dumped in a garbage can.

Or, if you are just beginning to accumulate personal property or have a substantial amount of personal property, how would you feel about coming home to find all of your personal property soaked with water or burned up by a fire, caused by one of your neighbors?

2 thoughts on “Open Window Disaster In Dickinson, North Dakota

  1. I would be really pissed off about the ignorance displayed by the dingus upstairs, but that’s why you need to have renters insurance and hopefully an honest agent and company. I imagine that the property owner probably has some type if rental insurance too for negligent tenants. Even so, the owners insurance will probably go after the tenant too.


    1. Rusty,
      The resident who left their bedroom window open, is probably about 22-26 years old. He is not a bad person, not too dumb, a happy-go-lucky, laid back, jovial person. I don’t think that this resident was aware right away that the landlord may go after him for the cost of the damage and repairs, he still may not be aware of this.

      I wrote this blog post so that hopefully other people in Dickinson will read this, and realize how costly the simple mistake of leaving a window open in the winter can be.


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