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Volunteers Help Couple After Sewage Disaster - John Dunn

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -  A community comes together to help a family recover from an unbelievable disaster. It all started when tree roots blocked the sewage pipes in front of Tommy and Marilyn Pritchett's house. Now, family, friends, and even strangers are stepping up to help the elderly couple.

There is plenty of work to do. Attention to detail and elbow grease are required. Cleaning the Pritchett home on Achievement Drive in West Nashville is not easy. "He saw sewage coming out of the toilets, and all the bathtubs," says granddaughter Kelli Pritchett.

Two months ago raw sewage invaded. It was caused by tree roots that had grown into the Metro sewer lines out front. "It was disgusting. I didn't know what to think, what to say, where to start. It was like walking into a disaster," says Kelli Pritchett.

Tommy and Marilyn Pritchett have lived in the house for 45 years. This week they showed FOX 17 News where it all started. Now they are welcoming a team of volunteers. "It makes us feel good to see all these people. I just want to thank them all for everything they've done," says homeowner Tommy Pritchett.

WATCH: Sewage Floods Home but City, Insurance Won't Pay

Many of these volunteers attend church with the Pritchetts. They are clearing out furniture and using a bleach solution to clean every surface. "It really tugged at my heart. They were helpless and they needed help," says volunteer Erin Jackson.

Metro Water Services is not paying for the damage. Metro Water says its inspection of the sewer pipes eight years ago falls within its standards, and there was no negligence.
After FOX 17 News reported on the situation, people offered to help. A professional cleaner is offering his service free of charge. "I just want to say thank you to everybody and FOX 17. I don't know what we would have done without them," says Kelli Pritchett.

There is still much to be done, but the progress is undeniable. The Pritchetts are planning a homecoming. "We're about to get our house back together where we can move in, and I'll be glad of that," says Tommy Pritchett.

The Pritchetts estimate it would cost $50,000 to clean and replace everything they lost during this sewage disaster.

Their story has touched many people, including Sherri Clifton, who owns Children's Trove Consignment in Mt. Juliet. The Pritchetts are on a fixed income, Just like her own mother.
Clifton is offering to donate 10% of her sales to customers who mention the Pritchetts. She says it is one way she can reach out. "This store has given us the opportunity to do that, and I hope this program gets so big I have to hire an accountant to do nothing but process payments out of it," says Sherri Clifton.

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