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Thunderstorms batter Western Pennsylvania

| Tuesday, June 25, 2013, 8:03 p.m.

Two firefighters in Allegheny County were injured answering alarms that sounded as severe thunderstorms rolled through the region on Tuesday.

One firefighter was taken to UPMC Mercy, Uptown, after something fell on him inside an apartment building — a former school — on Hays Avenue in Mt. Oliver, county emergency dispatchers said. Firefighters were called because the building was hit by lightning.

Another firefighter was burned trying to douse a fire in a house on Mills Avenue in Braddock possibly struck by lightning, dispatchers said. The American Red Cross was called to provide assistance for three adults and six children displaced by the fire.

There were no injuries when lightning struck a house on Wykes Street in Aliquippa, causing substantial damage to the second floor, said Joe Trone, a captain in the fire department.

The storms — accompanied by high winds, lightning strikes and, in some cases, large hail — downed trees and power lines throughout Western Pennsylvania from late afternoon through early evening.

About 13,000 Duquesne Light Co. customers were without service during the storms, company spokesman Joey Vallarian said. Hundreds of customers also were without service in areas served by FirstEnergy's West Penn Power, Penn Power and Penelec systems.

A number of trees and power lines were downed throughout Pittsburgh and other parts of the region.

The National Weather Service received reports of “numerous trees down” in areas including Darlington in Beaver County, Greenville in Mercer County, Emlenton in Venango County, and Marienville in Forest County. Trees also were reported down throughout Elk County. Some roads in Lawrence County were blocked because of fallen trees.

Wet weather is expected to continue into next week.

National Weather Service forecasters are calling for “a chance of showers and thunderstorms” every day except Thursday, when they are “likely.”

Michael Hasch is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7820 or mhasch@tribweb.com.

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