Brandon family's pool pops out of ground after cleaning - WFLA News Channel 8

Brandon family's pool pops out of ground after cleaning

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Jessica Pedraza just wanted to clean and repair her swimming pool. But she ended up with a mess in her backyard.

Less than 24 hours after draining it, Pedraza and her husband came home from work to find the pool popped out of the ground by about 4 feet on one side. Water underneath the pool was visible in a gap between the pool and the dirt. The force of the pop took part of Pedraza's screened patio with it.

"It was only going to be drained for a day or two," she said. "We just needed enough time to get home and get it pressure washed prior to filling it back up again. We just never imagined. I mean the home sat vacant prior to us moving in and the pool was drained, so we never imagined any issues with what we were doing."

Pedraza says she didn't know what was happening and immediately thought it could be a sink hole.

"The first thing I did was call 911," she said. "I thought my house was risk at that point. I grabbed my littlest out of the car seat and I moved him to the farthest end of the house."

After authorities determined her house was OK, she called her homeowner's insurance company, Heritage Insurance, to file a claim. But what happened next, she says, was shocking. An adjuster came out, took one look a the pool and told her this type of damage isn't covered by her policy and she was on her own.

Pedraza doesn't know what to do.

"We pay for coverage on it," she said. "Not only on the home, but on the pool as well."

The insurance adjuster, she says, told her it was her fault because she drained the pool without releasing a pressure relief valve in the bottom of the pool.

Estimates range from $15,000 to $25,000 just to cart the pool away and fill in the hole with dirt, and up to $60,000 to replace it with a new pool. Pedraza has hired an attorney to appeal to the insurance company.

Dick Tutwiler, a public adjuster in Tampa, agreed to review Pedraza's case for 8-on-your-side. He says coverage depends on the wording of the insurance policy and the official cause of the pop. He says this case could wind up in court. He said this problem is fairly common in Florida and that no one should drain a pool unless they really know what they are doing. Because, when it goes wrong, it can be extremely costly.

"If there's any ambiguity or issue here that they can call on her side, they really should do that," he said. "At the end of the day, if it goes to court, it's a very sympathetic situation and they mind themselves in trouble with the jury."

At this point, Pedraza says she doesn't want a pool at all anymore.

"I have no desire to swim at this point," she said.

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