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Export residents recovering after water-main break

| Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, 2:51 p.m.
Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review
A crew from the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County work to repair a water main located bering Duff Manor on Roosevelt Ave in Export. The water main break filled the first floor of the assisted living facility with several feet of water.
Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review
Workers from SERVPRO clean the mud that remains after a water main break caused flooding to Duff Manor in Export. Residents were evacuated.
Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review
Lower Kiski EMS First Responders finish loading residents of Duff Manor in Export onto a Medical Evacuation Vehicle after a water main break filled the first floor of the assisted living facility with several feet of water, forcing the residents to be evacuated.
Lillian DeDomenic | for The Murrysville Star A gushing wall of water sent mud down the hillside and into the building. Water main break under the road running behind the Duff Manor Apartments in Export on Thursday, October 10. Residents of the senior living complex evacuated and taken to a temporary shelter set up at the Italian American Club down the street.
Lillian DeDomenic | for The Murrysville Star Emergency Shelter Team members gather at the Italian american Club to help residents of Duff Manor forced out of their apartment on Thursday morning. Water main break under the road running behind the Duff Manor Apartments in Export on Thursday, October 10. Residents of the senior living complex evacuated and taken to a temporary shelter set up at the Italian American Club down the street.
Lillian DeDomenic | for The Murrysville Star Crews repaired the 12 inch pipe by early afternoon. Water main break under the road running behind the Duff Manor Apartments in Export on Thursday, October 10. Residents of the senior living complex evacuated and taken to a temporary shelter set up at the Italian American Club down the street.
Lillian DeDomenic | for The Murrysville Star Water main break under the road running behind the Duff Manor Apartments in Export on Thursday, October 10. Residents of the senior living complex evacuated and taken to a temporary shelter set up at the Italian American Club down the street.
Lillian DeDomenic | for The Murrysville Star A wall water gushed down the hillside leaving a trail of mud and debris behind. Water main break under the road running behind the Duff Manor Apartments in Export on Thursday, October 10. Residents of the senior living complex evacuated and taken to a temporary shelter set up at the Italian American Club down the street.

Eight residents of a senior citizens apartment building in Export still are displaced after a water-main break destroyed their first-floor apartments last Thursday.

Eighteen residents of the Duff Manor apartment building on Kennedy Avenue were evacuated after a 12-inch cast-iron main broke on Oct. 10 between 5:30 and 6 a.m., which left between 40 and 50 nearby customers without water until mid-afternoon.

Ten residents living on the second and third floors of the building were able to return to their homes that evening, said Valerie Mittereder, manager of the Murrysville Emergency Shelter Team. Two first-floor residents are staying with family; four are at the William Penn Care Center in Penn Township; one is at a different nursing home; and one is hospitalized because of an unrelated situation, she said.

“Those eight people have lost everything,” Mittereder said. “We don't know if anything is salvageable. If water touched the sofa, it's gone.”

The apartment building is owned by a nonprofit group that contracts with the Westmoreland County Housing Authority. A restoration company was working to remove mud from the ground-floor apartments, said Tom Ceraso, assistant manager of the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County. The water authority plans to work with the housing authority to provide temporary housing, if necessary.

That day, displaced residents in the apartment building were given temporary shelter at the nearby Italian American Club, also on Kennedy Avenue, said Michael Washowich executive director of the housing authority.

“It's a tough situation. We (did) everything we can to make it as comfortable as we can,” Washowich said.

The club “rolled out the red carpet” for the groups, Mittereder said, and provided space and meals for the residents.

Ceraso said the age of the pipe might have contributed to the break, one of an average of six or seven per day that occur in the authority's system.

“This one just happened to be in an area where it did damage to a building,” he said.

The break was one of the first situations dealt with by both the newly formed Murrysville Export Emergency Management Agency and the Murrysville Emergency Shelter team. The shelter team, activated by the emergency-management agency, worked on scene to keep morale high and assist residents with any needs.

“We were giving comfort and trying to make sure everyone was OK,” Mittereder said. “I think the teams did an excellent job.”

Stacey Federoff and Daveen Rae Kurutz are a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Federoff can be reached at 724-836-6660 or sfederoff@tribweb.com. Kurutz can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8627, or dkurutz@tribweb.com. Staff writers Paul Peirce and Mary Pickels contributed.

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