Share This Page

Carrick neighborhood recovering from break in water main

| Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014, 11:28 p.m.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
James O'Keefe inspects bags of ruined clothing and other items, Thursday, January 9, 2014. O'Keefe and his family suffered flood damage from the broken water main on Concordia St. in Carrick on Wednesday night. The dresses appeared to be unscathed due to their plastic storage bag.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
Will Brunick looks at the television set, Thursday, January 9, 2014, broken in the flooding from the broken water main on Concordia St. in Carrick on Wednesday night.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
James O'Keefe inspects dresses used in his daughter's wedding, Thursday, January 9, 2014. O'Keefe and his family suffered flood damage from the broken water main on Concordia Street in Carrick on Wednesday night. The dresses appeared to be unscathed in their plastic storage bag.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
Crews continue to repair the broken water main and also the damage caused by the water, on Concordia St. in Carrick, Thursday, January 9, 2014.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
Crews continue to repair the broken water main and also the damage caused by the water on Concordia Street in Carrick, Thursday, January 9, 2014.

The floor of James O'Keefe's basement bedroom was cold and wet on Thursday morning.

A cleanup crew removed the carpet and filled three large trash bags with wet clothes from the laundry room in the Carrick house he shares with his family.

“It sat in muddy water too long,” said O'Keefe, 49, whose home was one of six that were damaged on Wednesday afternoon when a water main broke underground in the 1600 block of Concordia Street.

Icy water flooded basements, first floors and yards, displacing families in two homes.

About 35 Pennsylvania American Water customers were left without service until 4:30 a.m. Thursday, spokesman Gary Lobaugh said.

Carnegie-based Disaster Restoration Services cleaned up O'Keefe's basement and yard. The company is surveying damage in the neighborhood, cleaning debris from homes and yards, checking furnaces and itemizing loss claims that will be given to the water company's insurer.

“We'll replace or repair anything that was damaged as a result of the water main break (Wednesday),” Lobaugh said.

Will Brunick is counting on it.

Brunick said he proposed to Danielle Miller on Christmas Eve, but Miller's engagement ring slipped off her finger on Wednesday in fast-rolling water while the two fervently worked beside their Concordia Street home to move their children's toys out of the path of water. Brunick, 33, said the couple doesn't have renter's insurance.

The ring, which had not been sized, could not be found, said Miller, 36.

“I can't even describe what I saw (Wednesday). I never saw anything like that in my life. It was like Raging Rapids at Kennywood,” she said.

On Wednesday, water from the broken pipes poured through the front door and into heating vents of the Concordia Street home that Ashley Buckholtz shares with her three children, her mother and her mother's fiance, she said.

“My kids were freaking out. I wasn't scared. I was worried about my stuff getting ruined,” Buckholtz, 26, said on Thursday.

The family, excluding her mother's fiance, stayed in a hotel room paid for by Pennsylvania American Water on Wednesday and Thursday, she said.

The company has replaced the home's hot water tank and fixed the furnace, and it will wash or replace the family's soaked clothes, she said.

“They're cleaning everything up,” Buckholtz said. The family doesn't have renter's insurance.

A Pennsylvania American Water contractor is doing street repairs in the Concordia Street area, Lobaugh said.

Breaks occur when the ground around buried water mains contracts, expands and shifts as it freezes and thaws, straining and breaking buried pipes weakened by age and the weight of buildings and the traffic 4 to 6 feet above them.

The Pittsburgh region contended with subzero temperatures this week.

The age of the pipe under Concordia Street — it was at least 70 years old — and cold weather contributed to the break. Pennsylvania American Water officials said they've had nine breaks since Monday, no more than usual.

Pennsylvania American serves customers in 36 counties, including 215,000 customers in Allegheny and northern Washington counties, he said.

Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5662 or tparrish@tribweb.com.

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.