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Help sought for Alle-Kiski Valley flood recovery

| Friday, Aug. 30, 2013, 1:06 a.m.
Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch
Marvin Shankle works to clean out all of the water damaged items in his basement along Cambria Avenue in Avonmore. He had nearly 2 feet of water in his home after Wednesday's heavy rains. Photographed on Thursday, August 27, 2013.
Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch
Un-Flood-It owner Brian Marra loads a couch onto a trailer that was damaged in Wednesday's flooding along Cambria Avenue in Avonmore on Thursday, August 27, 2013. Marra said this is the third time his company has done flood work at the same home.
Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch
Barb Wilmot begins to clean up debris washed onto her North 11th Street property in Apollo from Sugar Hollow Creek. The debris included a mini-bike. Photographed on Thursday, August 27, 2013.

Four Armstrong County communities — Apollo and Kiski, Manor and Sugarcreek townships — have applied for an emergency declaration after floodwaters Wednesday ravaged streets and buildings that local governments and residents were still digging out on Thursday.

Parks Township and other towns are in the process of applying for state aid.

“We actually have houses off of foundations on the Dime Road flats,” said Bud Shannon, chairman of the township's supervisors.

“A lot of people are crying for help,” he said. “We're going to do what we can. It's bad.”

Armstrong County has been working with the hardest hit communities to get them qualified for aid with emergency designation, according to Randy Brozenick, Armstrong County director of Public Safety.

The county is waiting on a list of damaged roads and buildings, which local communities are still compiling.

Apollo Council on Thursday night approved a disaster declaration that will be sent to the county on Friday.

“I think the damage has been severe in some places — public areas, homes, roads and sewage systems,” said state Rep. Joe Petrarca, D-Washington Township. “We have cash-strapped communities that need some assistance. And I expect the state to step up and offer assistance.”

Petrarca said he should have more answers on Friday and the days to come as communities complete their damage assessments.

“It's looking to PEMA that it doesn't look like the communities will meet the threshold to trigger federal disaster dollars,” said Petrarca, who spoke to Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency officials on Thursday.

Petrarca said, “we're still looking for any assistance that we can find.”

Towns looking for a disaster declaration from PEMA will have to wait for federal approval, according to Brozenick.

The county will work through the emergency declaration process and hopes to know more by the end of next week, he said.

PennDOT had bridge inspection teams out Thursday as they viewed the flood damage that impacted numerous roads and bridges, according to Deborah Casadei, PennDOT spokeswoman.

It's too early to calculate total damage, she said.

But as of Thursday, several roads were still closed in Armstrong County:

• Glade Run Road, between Route 128 in Cadogan Township and Pony Farm Road in North Buffalo Township.

• Stitts Run Road, Parks Township, between Dime Road and Garvers Ferry Road.

• Nicola Road in West Franklin, between Fenelton Road and Route 422.

• Edmon Road/Old State Road, Kiski Township, between School Road and Ross Road.

Mary Ann Thomas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4691 or mthomas@tribweb.com.

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