By Nicholas Johnson
Photos courtesy Jimmy Matta

Tenants of the Cabana Royal Apartment Homes in Burien are once again able to take hot showers and flush their toilets normally after a broken water pipe was repaired Monday.

The water began flowing again at about 6 p.m. Monday (July 12, 2021), a full four days after water from that broken pipe flooded a ground-floor unit, forcing the complex’s management to shut off water to all 32 residential units.

“We were relieved,” said Kurt Linden, who lives in an apartment next door to the Cabana Royal with his fiance, Christa Kemp, both of whom did whatever they could to help their neighbors throughout the weekend.
“It should have been turned on way before then, but we were relieved,” he said.

In order to access and repair the pipe, plumbers had to tear up the floor of the previously flooded ground-floor unit on Monday. Property Manager Claudia Montejano said damage to that unit is being repaired today so that displaced tenant Lily Mula can move back in as soon as Wednesday.

In the meantime, Mula is staying at a local hotel, said Burien Mayor Jimmy Matta, who was on hand Monday to make sure Mula had a suitable place to stay until her unit is once again habitable.

“Here’s a young lady who has missed a couple days of work because of this,” he said. “We should never have people without running water for that long and without the city knowing about it.”

The complex’s water was shut off around 5 p.m. Thursday after Mula reported coming home to find her unit flooded. Matta said he did not learn of the situation until Saturday afternoon, when he got a call from Cabana Royal neighbor Christa Kemp.

“Tenants should have a place to call so that the city knows what’s going on,” Matta said. “We need to do a better job at that, so I’ll be asking the city manager how we can better help people in this kind of situation.”

While meeting with residents Sunday, Matta said, he heard stories of recent vehicle break-ins and catalytic converter thefts in the complex’s parking lot. He said he plans to organize a small celebration soon and invite Police Chief Ted Boe to talk with residents about those incidents.

“The nice thing about all of this is that the community has really come together to help each other,” said Kemp, “even if it was because of a bad situation.”

Matta echoed that sentiment.

“There are a lot more questions that need to be asked and answered here,” he said, “but I am so moved by the neighbors helping those residents out. That’s the kind of community we want to build.”

Read our previous coverage here.