Defenders help homeowner in water leak battle

Water leak at Exxon station caused foundation problems


SAN ANTONIO – A west side homeowner is making progress in getting a big corporation to pay for damages to his house -- thanks to the KSAT 12 Defenders.

Four years ago, James Rocha bought a fixer-upper house next to an Exxon station.

And for more than a year now, he said he has been fighting with the company about damage he said a water leak at the station caused to his property.

"My sheet rock started cracking," Rocha said. "This is brand new sheet rock that was just done (being painted). It started chipping (and) nails started coming out of the sheet rock."

He said a sprinkler leak at the station sent water running down the street and under his house and that it was not shut off for a week.

"They left it running," Rocha said. "It flooded my home (and) underneath my home. My home is pier-and-beam."

He said some piers began sinking and beams underneath the house lifted up.

One estimate for fixing the foundation came to $9,300.

He said he tried talking to station management and at the corporate level, but ran into roadblocks.

"It's like hot potato," Rocha said. "They're just passing the blame back and forth."

The KSAT 12 Defenders went to the station to ask some questions and eventually took those questions to the Exxon corporate office.

As a result of getting connected with the right people, Rocha got a recommended settlement offer of $7,500.

But he said the damage his house sustained is much more than that and he is holding out for more money.

He said he has lost just about everything he has put into the house.

"I depleted my savings because I threw it all into the home," Rocha said. "I have no more funds to fix it up."

Exxon Corporation does not own that station now, but did back when the water leak occurred.

As for the settlement offer, it was made by someone representing Exxon in hopes of avoiding a long and costly investigation and legal battle.