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Condemned Glassport house comes down

| Friday, Sept. 20, 2013, 4:31 a.m.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News
Demolition crews used a hydraulic excavator on Thursday to tear down a home damaged over the summer by a sewer main failure in Glassport. The borough claimed the property through eminent domain last month. The home’s former owners, Jerry and Joanne Wirbicki, have retained a lawyer and are trying to get compensation for their loss from their insurance company and the borough.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News
Demolition crews used a hydraulic excavator on Thursday to tear down a home damaged over the summer by a sewer main failure in Glassport. The borough claimed the property through eminent domain last month. The home’s former owners, Jerry and Joanne Wirbicki, have retained a lawyer and are trying to get compensation for their loss from their insurance company and the borough.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News
Jerry and Joanne Wirbicki watch as their home in Glassport is torn down on Thursday. The structure’s foundation was severely damaged in July when a sewer main failed during a series of heavy rainstorms. The borough claimed the property through eminent domain last month.

Demolition crews tore down a Glassport home damaged during the summer when a sewer main failed during a series of heavy rainstorms.

Joanne and Jerry Wirbicki stood by Thursday as a hydraulic excavator tore down what until July had been their family home.

Their house in the 500 block of Cypress Way sustained serious foundation damage when a nearby municipal sewer collapsed, causing storm water run-off to back up around their property.

“I said I wasn't going to watch this but it's like a car wreck,” said Joanne Wirbicki. “You can't look away.”

Jerry Wirbicki, who was hospitalized with a heart problem after his home was flooded for a fourth time over a two-week period in July, said he's not as stressed now as he was in the midst of the ordeal.

“I'm worn out,” he said. “We just want it to be over. We can get another house.”

Glassport claimed possession of the Wirbicki's home through eminent domain in August. Officials said then the house had to be leveled for the damaged main to be properly repaired.

The Wirbickis, who have been staying with family since July, have retained a lawyer and are trying to get compensation for their loss from their insurance company and the borough.

Glassport Mayor Michael Evanovich, who visited the demolition scene, declined comment on legal matters surrounding the Wirbicki's home.

He said the teardown was not something the borough wanted to do.

“It is a necessary procedure,” the mayor said. “This is as difficult for me as it is for them.”

Evanovich said repair work on the damaged sewer main should begin on Monday.

He said the hope is that the 500 block of Cypress Alley will be reopened to through traffic by the end of next week.

Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1966, or eslagle@tribweb.com.