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Highlands Meals on Wheels resumes delivery

| Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Highlands Meals on Wheels will resume deliveries Wednesday, a week after a waterline break in its Harrison kitchen interrupted service.

Cold meals bought from the Allegheny Valley Hospital will be delivered to the organization's 120 clients on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays until further notice. Highlands Meals on Wheels will be unable to serve hot meals while its kitchen, attached to Citizens Hose Fire Hall, remains out of service, according to President Joanne Diller.

“It's just not feasible right now,” she said. “It's hard to say when we will move back in there.”

Highlands Meals on Wheels will prepare and deliver the bagged lunches from the Citizens Hose social hall while the kitchen undergoes repairs.

Arnold L & Sons Excavating & Plumbing of Harrison is scheduled Monday to fix the Meals on Wheels waterline, which broke in five places because of last week's subzero temperatures. The leak destroyed the kitchen's drywall, collapsed part of its ceiling and soaked the insulation.

Fire crews from the organization's coverage area — Harrison, Brackenridge, Tarentum and Fawn — gutted the kitchen's affected areas so it could dry out before a contractor begins repairs.

Citizens Hose firefighter Bob Griffin said it would most likely be weeks until the kitchen is operational again. He couldn't say how much the repairs would cost.

The kitchen's rehabilitation will include replacing the drywall, fixing the plumbing, reinsulating the room and replacing the cabinets, according to Griffin. Poor insulation, he said, could have contributed to the waterline breaking.

“When the room was added to the fire hall, they put studs up but there was no insulation, really,” he said. “That's going to need to be addressed during the work. I think this was an eye-opening experience for everyone.”

Bob Brunner of Bob Brunner Construction in Winfield will handle the rehabilitation. He could not be reached for comment Sunday, but told the Valley News Dispatch this weekend that the work could be completed in a week. Griffin said construction could begin as early as this week.

The Highlands Meals on Wheels board will work toward delivering warm meals while the kitchen undergoes repairs, Diller said.

Braden Ashe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4673 or bashe@tribweb.com.

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