Boiling water pouring from a faulty ensuite pipe has severely damaged a river front home and left owner Cynthia Roberts in limbo.
The Pukete resident was preparing to put her home of four years on the market and travel to Christchurch for family reasons when a second storey hot water pipe burst.
She woke shortly after midnight yesterday to the sound of gushing water.
"Everything was flooded by that time," the shocked grandmother said after a sleepless night.
"It was like a hose on full. And of course it was boiling water so I couldn't get into it to try and see what caused it."
The culprit was a hole the size of a 10 cent coin in the rubber beneath a flexible wire mesh pipe connected to her ensuite bathroom vanity.
Ms Roberts tried to stem the flow but it was no use.
Then she turned the hot water off but the water kept flowing.
"I realised the water was pouring down on the ground floor as well and then saw it was coming through all the light bulbs so I quickly knew that I had to turn off the electricity and go and try and grab a torch and try and find where the water main was."
Ms Roberts ventured outside in the dark with a weak torch to try and turn off the water main, but she couldn't find it.
Instead she called the fire service and the Pukete Station responded at 12.45am - she said they were outstanding.
Firefighters, including volunteers, spent nearly two hours pumping water out and covering furniture but the damage had already been done.
Station officer Colin Irvine said they respond to about one plumbing-related call out every month.
The ceiling in the lounge of the 1989 home collapsed, taking down light fittings with it.
Ms Roberts was making her way gingerly around her home yesterday morning in fear of more collapses.
She warned people that their plumbing may not be as sturdy as they imagine. They should also familiarise themselves with their water main.
"I do feel concerned for the insurance companies - all this due to a failure in a house fitting."
Ms Roberts will be staying at a neighbour's house until she sorts out her living situation. Insurance assessors were at the scene yesterday.