Turn to Ted: AT&T workers broke pipes and ate Houston homeowner's oranges

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A homeowner says his sprinkler system was broken by an AT&T crew installing fiber optic cables. (KTRK)

Crews working for AT&T in northwest Houston made a mess of one man's yard. They left cables, ditches, and broken pipes, but no way to get it fixed.

After he wasn't able to solve the issue on his own, he turned to investigative reporter Ted Oberg.


The crew came to Charlie McLendon's home to lay fiber optic cables. They came through in early November, digging trenches that McLendon understands are necessary, but what they didn't do was fill those trenches back in. McLendon says the damage to his yard is all over.

"They cut the main line to my sprinkler," McLendon said.

Every time his sprinkler went on, it would flood his backyard and sent wasted water out into the street.

McLendon didn't want to start digging and cut the newly-laid fiber lines or something worse, and he shouldn't have to. He didn't make the mess in the first place, but he did try to warn the crews about what they were doing.

As the crew broke for lunch in the midst of tearing up McLendon's yard, "they had picked fruit off my orange tree."


The same tree that wouldn't get water after lines were cut.

As for the orange peels?

"They just threw [them] on the ground," he said.

McLendon worked for weeks trying to get in touch with AT&T to get his yard fixed. "800" numbers online just led to frustrating call centers offering to send cable technicians, but no luck on a yard crew.

"They just leave a trench and vanish," McLendon said.


We called AT&T and the next day, things started getting fixed.

"As soon as we became aware of the additional work need, we ensured our contractor completed [it] the following morning," an AT&T corporate spokesperson said.

The company didn't say if the contractor was still working for them.

Do you have a story tip, idea or question for Ted Oberg Investigates? Let us know, at abc13.com/tedstips


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