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One year later, Bridgeville residents still nervous about flood possibilities

| Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
JC Schisler
Marilyn Mance, owner of Executrim Family Hair Salon & Wig Center, reacts to her business being destroyed by flash flooding that occurred behind her building on Bower Hill Road in Scott on Wednesday morning, July 10, 2013. A large storm pipe and drain behind her building were overpowered by the severe rain waters. Mance said this isn't the first time the building has been affected by the drain. She and her husband, Frank, own the building, which is home to two other businesses. Those businesses also were destroyed.
JC Schisler
A foam head and other debris from Marilyn Mance's business, Executrim Family Hair Salon & Wig Center, is strewn along Bower Hill Road in Scott after stormwaters flooded her building and washed past Painters Run Road. Flash flooding from heavy rains on Wednesday, July 10, 2013, devastated parts of the region.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Firefighters and rescue workers struggle to clear debris contributing to the flooding of McLaughlin Run in Bridgeville on Wednesday, July 10, 2013.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Residents watch floodwater from McLaughlin Run spread out through Bridgeville on Wednesday, July 10, 2013.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
A Bridgeville resident evacuates his dogs after McLaughlin Run flooded near Baldwin Street in Bridgeville on Wednesday, July 10, 2013.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Elwood Weissert walks with his son, Justin Myers, 6, both of Bridgeville through floodwaters at Baldwin and Railroad streets in Bridgeville on Wednesday, July 10, 2013.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
Garry Roehling wades through his backyard along Baldwin St. in Bridgeville after McLaughlin Run breached its banks flooding the homes along the way, Wednesday, July 10, 2013. Roehlings basement was flooded to the roof, destroying his washer, dryer, and other appliances.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Dan Cunningham (center) and Frank Tome, both of Bridgeville, clean muck out of the basement of the Owls Club on Baldwin Street in Bridgeville on Wednesday, July 10, 2013.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Tony Sikorski 71, of Bridgeville sweeps standing water out of his garage after heavy rains caused severe flooding in Bridgeville, Wednesday. Sikorski moved to Bridgeville after losing his family home when Carnegie flooded from Hurricane Ivan in 2004.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Gordon Stoernell of Bridgeville dries his shoes after cleaning mud from the Railroad Street restaurant, DiMarios, on Wednesday, July 10, 2013.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Road crews clean mud off of Baldwin Street in Bridgeville on Wednesday, July 10, 2013.

One year after drenching rains caused heavy flooding in Bridgeville and the surrounding communities, John Palluch is still a little gun-shy when it comes to rain.

“I don't trust it,” he said, gesturing to McLaughlin Run Creek, which spilled more than three feet of water into Baldwin Street residence where he rents an apartment. “I keep everything upstairs now.”

A dirt debris line on the gas meter outside the house acts as a stark reminder of just how high the waters rose, he said.

Strong rains on July 10, 2013, sent the creek over its banks and into the streets — and into the basements of nearby homes and businesses. Three inches of rain fell in two hours in Bridgeville, Oakdale and many South Hills communities, according to the National Weather Service. The already-saturated ground caused rain to pool and creeks to swell.

Bridgeville and other communities in the Chartiers Creek Watershed in October sent a request to the Army Corps of Engineers to do a flood-reduction study on the watershed, specifically Chartiers Creek tributaries Robinson Run, McLaughlin Run, Millers Run, Painters Run and Campbells Run.

John Peukert, chief of planning at the Corps, said the Corps was able to secure some federal funding to do an initial assessment of the area.

Peurkert said that so far, engineers have done a preliminary drive-through of the area along with some historical research regarding flood issues.

“All of this will culminate in our initial assessment,” he said. “Then the federal government decides whether it is interested in pursuing the study further or not.”

Ray Skundirch, president of M&M Uniforms on Railroad Street, said the July 10 rains brought several inches of water into his basement tailor shop. He said it's up to the borough's public works department to keep McLaughlin Run free of debris that might back up the waterway.

“There's not a lot we can do,” he said. “We're at the mercy of those in charge.”

The public works did not return a call seeking comment.

Palluch isn't willing to take that chance.

“It happened before. It can happen again,” he said.

He said he is looking to move out of the flood zone.

Tony Sikorski, who keeps a garage for storage on Baldwin Street, is optimistic that the flooding days are over.

“I feel like that's a once- or twice-in-a-lifetime thing,” he said.

Sikorski, a sculptor, said that about three feet of water poured into the garage that morning. After he and his wife cleaned up, he said, he decided to renovate it.

“(The flood) made me do something I kept putting off,” he said. “It took about two months to clean up. It's going good now.”

Megan Guza is a staff for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5810 or

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