Residents in Mt. Oliver evacuated after homes shift off their foundations
By Adam Smeltz
Published: Friday, July 12, 2013, 5:27 p.m.
Families evacuated three homes on Frederick Street in Mt. Oliver Friday afternoon because buildings started shifting on their foundations.
It happened about 3 p.m. in the 100 block, where portions of the street began to sink and crack, emergency responders said. They closed much of the block to traffic while the Allegheny County Emergency Management Agency investigated.
The agency declined to comment, but residents say they believe a broken water line may be responsible.
There was a minor line break Wednesday afternoon that was repaired in about an hour on Thursday morning, according to a statement from Gary Lobaugh, an external affairs manager with Pennsylvania American Water.
Lobaugh said mine subsidence may be to blame.
“Early feedback from the scene indicates the damage is consistent with mine subsidence and not the minimal amount of water that escaped from the service line,” he said.
“My house sank so much that my water meter — the pipe inside — broke,” said Stephen Thomas, 34, who returned home from work to a soppy mess. He said his front porch had separated from the home by about a foot.
A 2- to 3-inch gap first appeared there on Wednesday, but it grew dramatically on Friday, Thomas said. He said firefighters checked a neighboring house for structural damage when it, too, showed early signs of movement.
By Friday afternoon, a wall on that adjacent home had bowed and sent bricks cascading to the ground. Officials from Columbia Gas and Duquesne Light responded to shut off utilities, residents said.
Across the street, Rebecca Cillo said her grandchildren's home shifted so much that they couldn't open the front door. They hauled belongings out of a basement door and a living-room window.
“My grandkids could've gotten killed in that house. It could've caved in on them,” said Cillo, 54, of the South Side Slopes.
Borough firefighter Anthony Shuey said three houses were evacuated and that two adjacent homes were vacant. He said cracks were visible in at least one home's foundation.
All five houses were damaged, Shuey said.
The American Red Cross provided food and shelter to five adults and six children, disaster responder Kaitlin Norris said.
“These people were all in grave danger,” Cillo said.
Adam Smeltz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-380-5676 or email@example.com. Staff writers Michael Hasch,Tom Fontaine and Andrew Russell contributed to this report.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kovacevic: Panic over Pirates? In April? Why?
- Patience pays off as starting pitcher Volquez gets 1st win for Pirates
- Undersized rookie Gibbons is blur on ice for Penguins
- Plum native Umberger inching closer to making return for Blue Jackets
- Panthers pulling weight for new strength coach
- 4 dead in ‘horrific’ Armstrong County crash
- Pens insider: Penalty killing a concern in Stanley Cup playoffs
- Pirates should exploit free-swinging Brewers
- Work on tournament-class dek hockey rink in Bloomfield to begin
- Body found on train tracks in West End
- Greensburg high school roundup: Yough softball defeats Belle Vernon in 10 innings