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Tales of flooding, rescues and cleanup

| Wednesday, July 10, 2013, 12:51 p.m.
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.
Jim Wilhelm | Tribune-Review
Workers clear a downed tree across from Cedar Avenue at Pressley Street in the North Side after heavy storms battered the region on Wednesday, July 10, 2013.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Evening storms brought rain and strong winds, which snapped large trees such as this one on Beechwood Boulevard in Sqiurrel Hill on Wednesday, July 10, 2013. City of Pittsburgh Public Works employee Rick Cervi tied rope around the tree that he cut with a chainsaw for removal. The downed tree caused traffic headaches for hundreds of motorists during the evening rush.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Road crews clean mud off of Baldwin Street in Bridgeville on Wednesday, July 10, 2013.
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.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Andrew Russell took first place in the Natural Disaster category. His photo, titled “A Helping Hand,” showed a rescue worker and a flood evacuee who shared a light moment while holding hands and slogging through floodwaters in Bridgeville on July 10, 2013.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Rescue workers lower a woman onto a gurney after carrying her through floodwaters at Baldwin and Railroad streets in Bridgeville on Wednesday, July 10, 2013.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
An exhausted Frank Truzzi, 68, of Bridgeville takes a break on his front porch after cleaning mud caused by floodwaters from the basement of his home on Baldwin Street in Bridgeville on Wednesday, July 10, 2013. Truzzi said he was worried that the damage to his basement will be too costly to repair because he is on a fixed income.
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.
Kristina Serafini | Tribune-Review
Wearing his dad's firefighting gear, Nicholas Williams, 14, of Oakdale trudges through water flooding the road near Maple Avenue and Robinson Street in Oakdale 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.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Denis McCormick catches one of his 11 displaced Japanese koi in the receding floodwater in his yard along Hoza Way in Mt. Pleasant. His yard flooded with 2 feet of water as a result of the rainstorms which soaked the region. A full story on the flooding in the borough and additional photos appear on Page 3. Photo taken Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Rennerdale volunteer firefighter Daniel Bright carries Cheryl McLuckie to safety from her home along Noblestown Road in Oakdale as floodwaters surround her home on Wednesday, July 10, 2013.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
Bernie Orient hoses off his mud-covered equipment along Margaret Street, near Baldwin Street, in Bridgeville after McLaughlin Run breached its banks, flooding the homes and buildings along the way on Wednesday, July 10, 2013.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
Vivian Collier treads carefully through the muck on Baldwin Road in Bridgeville on Wednesday, July 10, 2013. The vehicles behind her had been carried by high waters before being deposited along the sidewalks.
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
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
Firefighters and rescue workers assess damage and plans for evacuation near the intersection of Baldwin and Railroad streets in Bridgeville on Wednesday, July 10, 2013.
Guests at the Days Inn took photos of flooding Wednesday morning, July 10, 2013, along Banksville Road, which was closed between Crane Avenue and the parkway.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Emergency response personnel direct traffic around downed power lines that forced Washington Pike to close in Collier on Wednesday, July 10, 2013.
Gwen Titley | Tribune-Review
Debris and a vehicle block Banksville Road on Wednesday, July 10, 2013.

People across Western Pennsylvania awoke to flooding and drove into major messes as storms dumped up to 3 inches of rain on Wednesday. Their stories:


Water poured into rooms at the Days Inn on Banksville Road, flooding Tom and Nichelle Cassidy's room to their knees and sending debris drifting down the hallway. A staircase turned into a waterfall.

“We started pounding on doors to ... wake other people up,” said Nichelle Cassidy, 28, of Spring Hill, Fla. “It was knee-high in the hallway, like something out of the Titanic.

“The girl in the room next to us got a shock from her iPhone that was plugged in near the floor.”

Mike Swenson, 33, of Oakland, Calif., said he and his friends woke to find water in the parking lot up to cars' doors. They were trying to find another way to get Downtown for the Pirates-A's game.

“We'd rather be trapped Downtown than trapped out here,” he said. “We've been bringing the rain with us to Cleveland, Toronto, here. ... Look for it in Philadelphia next.”


DeAnne Orive, owner of Grand Slam Grooming, a pet grooming business on Bower Hill Road in Scott, was listening to the rain and waiting for her first client about 8 a.m. when the wall behind her suddenly started moving. She ran from the building just as it filled with water.

“I heard a ‘whoosh,' and the wall behind me came forward. I ran out the exit, and then the window behind me crashed open,” she said.

Scott officials condemned the building, which contains Orive's business, Executrim hair salon and an insurance agency. Firefighters had to break windows to allow the water to flow out of the building. A retaining wall collapsed and spilled bricks and flood waters onto a parking lot along Bower Hill.

Husband and wife Frank and Marilyn Mance of Upper St. Clair have owned the building since 1994.

Marilyn Mance runs Executrim. Mannequin heads with wigs on them surrounded her on the floor as she stood in the flooded businesses. Yellow Splenda packets, carried by the floodwaters, stuck to the walls.

“It's destroyed,” she said. “What do you say? You see your whole life just go down the tubes.”


Members of the Owl's Club on Baldwin Street in Bridgeville renewed a grand tradition when water flooded the basement and crept up to a level of 5 feet on the first floor.

They pumped water out of the basement onto the street. They then enjoyed a few beers, just as they said their comrades did during previous floods at the social club.

“There's nothing you can do,” said Brian Carnahan, 57, of Bridgeville and a member of the club, which opened in 1911. “This was just, bang, 15 minutes. It was just unbelievable.”

Carnahan said water covered the cab of a beer truck parked near the club in 15 minutes. Members said the water was about 3 inches lower than flooding caused by Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

Thomas Drucis, owner of Investors Capital, said he just bought his building on Baldwin Street in January. He spent $30,000 to renovate it and opened in March.

“That's why you have insurance,” Drucis said. “You can't live in a flood plain without it.”

Castle Shannon

Contractor Rick Cardiello, 50, lost hundreds of dollars' worth of hardwood stored in his basement and garage when water came downhill from the Mt. Lebanon Golf Course into his driveway, at the bottom of Chestnut Avenue in Castle Shannon.

“I already took a truckload out to the dump. I didn't even want to look at it, I was so disgusted with it,” he said. “I didn't buy a house next to a river, creek or stream, so I shouldn't have to deal with this as often as I do.”

Water gushing down the steps behind his house put a hole in his driveway 6 inches deep, exposing the pipe from his downspout and tree roots. He said water in his basement and garage came up about an inch and a half; enough to ruin the materials he uses to build cabinets. Luckily, he said, his current project was up on milk crates; all he lost were materials and a day's worth of labor.


“It was like a disaster zone this morning when I came in,” said Chris Goetzman, store manager at Carquest Auto Parts on West Liberty Avenue in Brookline. He said when he got to work, garbage cans, rocks and logs were strewn on West Liberty.

Heavy rainwater from Stetson Street, which is beside Carquest, poured into the stockroom from under a closed door. The water was being collected by a $16,000 drainage system Carquest installed last summer because crumbling curbing on Stetson was sending water into the business, Goetzman said.

In the parking lot in front of the store, employees shoveled debris three times between 8 and 11 a.m., said Paul Thomas, a Carquest delivery driver.


RJ Netz stood outside a garage bay door at Monro Muffler Brake and Service at Library and McNeilly roads in Overbrook smoking the last of a cigar. Water from a creek across Library rose fast and filled the garage with about 2 feet of water, he said.

“That creek has flooded me out seven times. This is the worst,” said Netz, a district manager for the company. “We don't know the damage until we can get to everything.”

Netz said employees scrambled to lift tools, parts and vehicles off the garage floor when the water rose. As workers serviced vehicles in the afternoon, they danced around puddles on the floor.

Bethel Park

Sewage systems backed up and forced water into the basements of homes on Milford Drive in Bethel Park.

“It's not just water. It's water and sewage. It's disgusting,” said Joe Scarillo, who described the damage to his basement as the worst in the 25 years he's lived in his home.

The wastewater came through the toilet, sink and shower into the basement, Scarillo said, and he worries about how long it will take to get a restoration company.

His neighbor Ed Urian said he had 6 inches of water in his basement.

“This problem is caused by the sewer system. The pipes aren't big enough,” he said.

Baldwin Borough

Linda Alukonis, 52, has lived in a house on Brentwood Road in Baldwin Borough all of her life. She's grown used to the flooding, she said.

“It happens all of the time,” Alukonis said.

This past fall, she had a generator-run sump pump installed in her home. That came in handy when the electricity went out about 9:30 a.m. and remained out at 2 p.m., Alukonis said.

The pump kept her home from flooding, she said. But Brentwood Road was a different story.

“Just muddy water, trees, rocks,” Alukonis said, noting her neighbor was evacuated.

Trib Total Media staff writers Matthew Santoni, Andrew Conte, Salena Zito, Megan Guza, Tory Parrish, Aaron Aupperlee, Brittany Goncar, Stephanie Hacke and Michael DiVittorio contributed to this report.

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