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Update: $3,500 plumbing problem finally fixed

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A different plumbing company and fixed the drainage pipe on the Portnoys' house. (Source: 3TV) A different plumbing company and fixed the drainage pipe on the Portnoys' house. (Source: 3TV)
Snaking a drain is a common plumbing task, but in this case, something went wrong. (Source: 3TV) Snaking a drain is a common plumbing task, but in this case, something went wrong. (Source: 3TV)
The drain snake got stuck in the pipe. (Source: 3TV) The drain snake got stuck in the pipe. (Source: 3TV)
(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

Water is once again flowing in Orin Portnoy's kitchen. 

"It's draining, finally," Orin said.

With water that can drain, that means this Tempe homeowner and his wife can finally do their laundry.

"Sounds great, the sweet sound of laundry, yes," Orin said.

In a recent 3 On Your Side report, the couple explained how they had to turn their water off in parts of the house because of a drainage problem. As a result, Desiree Portnoy says their life was turned upside down.

[ORIGINAL STORY: Homeowners 'drained' after plumbing fiasco]

"Horrible, oh my gosh, torture! Let me tell you, I've cried more than I have in a while," Desiree said.

But their problem grew worse when they called a company called City Wide plumbing. An employee with the company tried clearing the drain with a metal cable called a plumbing snake. But the snake became stuck permanently and the company simply left it there. Orin showed 3 On Your Side the stuck drain snake.

"Here's the snake, that's stuck, it won't come out," Orin said.

City Wide plumbing blamed the problem on the couple's old pipes, saying their pipe broke and snagged the snake. The company at first said they weren't going to remove the snake or fix the pipe because it wasn't their fault. However, after 3 On Your Side's involvement, the plumbing company had a change of heart and turned the pricey repair over to their insurance company.

"Thanks to 3 On Your Side, City Wide contacted their insurance company and the insurance company came out here. The adjuster made an assessment and sent us a check to cover the repairs for all the damages," Orin said.

The Portnoys got a check for $3,500 and used the money to hire another plumbing company to install a brand new drainage pipe.

As for the snake, it's basically entombed in the old pipe and will remain their forever. Orin went outside to show 3 On Your Side the finished project.

"This is where the snake was and they pulled off the brick and sealed the snake into the house," Orin said.

The Portnoys say they are grateful. The metal snake no longer sticks out of their home and their home has a new drainage pipe.

"I felt good we were able to do the 3 On Your Side and it made a difference. You can make a difference and I think you guys do a really good service to the community and we appreciate it and you'll be the first person we call next time something happens," Orin said.

A big thank you to the plumbing company for turning the matter over to their insurance company and resolving this issue. It was a great way to get this ordeal behind everybody.

Copyright 2016 KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

Click to learn more about Gary.

Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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