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Export apartment building evacuated after break in 12-inch water line

| Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013, 12:12 p.m.
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
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
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.

A senior citizen apartment building was evacuated on Thursday morning in Export when a water main broke and flooded first-floor apartments.

About 40 to 50 customers' water was shut off near the Duff Manor apartment building on Kennedy Avenue when a 12-inch cast-iron main broke between 5:30 and 6 a.m., said Tom Ceraso, assistant manager of the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County.

Service was restored at about 3 p.m., Ceraso said Thursday evening.

The apartment building, owned by a nonprofit that contracts with the Westmoreland County Housing Authority, was to be evaluated prior to any residents' return.

A restoration company was working to remove mud from the ground-floor apartments, Ceraso said. The water authority plans to work with the housing authority to provide temporary housing, if necessary.

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

“We hope to move the (16) tenants on the second and third floor into the facility (Thursday night),” Washowich said about 8 p.m.

Of the residents of the lower eight units, several were staying with family members Thursday night and four were taken to the William Penn Care Center nursing home in Penn Township, Washowich said.

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

Ceraso said the age of the pipe may 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.

“We're working with Westmoreland County Emergency Management for short-term shelter. Once we get the go-ahead from the restoration company, residents from the 16 units on the upper two floors will return — hopefully by early (Thursday) evening,” Ceraso said.

Work was being done to restore elevator service.

In addition to sleeping provisions, the authority was assisting with feeding the displaced residents.

Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at sfederoff@tribweb.com. Staff writers Paul Peirce and Mary Pickels contributed.

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