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Problems wash out Light Up Night

| Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012, 1:32 a.m.

KITTANNING — Friday's water alert caused a major inconvenience to area residents and businesses and even managed to douse the town's Light Up Night.

As Christmas music spilled out onto Market Street from Dizzy Lizzie's restaurant Friday afternoon, owner Fred Bonello made calls on his cell phone making arrangements for ice to be brought in from outlying areas to serve customers for the evening's event.

His wife, Debbie, said they had been using bottled water to make coffee and had been using plastic eating utensils and paper products.

“We have bins everywhere in the kitchen to store the dirty dishes (used before the alert went out) because we can't wash them in the water,” she said.

Bonello said that in spite of the situation, the restaurant was still going to serve its buffalo wings that night.

But that was before the health department made them close up business because the public restrooms couldn't function and Kittanning Borough was declared to be in a state of emergency.

That information could not be confirmed by the end of the day Friday and a spokesman for Pennsylvania American Water said the cause is still under investigation.

“This is the biggest night of the year for businesses in downtown Kittanning,” said Fred Bonello. “I have great people who have gone out of their way to help.”

He ended up letting his staff feast on wings before letting them go home early on a night that was supposed to be one of their busiest.

Debbie Bonello, who owns Creative Visions beauty salon on Jefferson Street, said she didn't even hear about the water warning until around 1 p.m.

After she heard the news she said she had to rinse a customer's hair with bottled water. She also said her hands felt irritated and had a burning sensation.

Kris Ridenour, a pharmacist at Klingensmith's Drugstore on Market Street, said they always use distilled water when filling out prescriptions and had plenty of reserves.

“It could be a lot worse,” she said.

But customers weren't very happy at Sprankles Market on North McKean Street when they discovered all the bottled water had sold out.

Assistant manager Melissa Booher said all the water, other than the flavored kind, had sold out by 1 p.m.

She said the Armstrong County Health Center called and ordered 20 cases of bottled water and 20 cases of gallon water jugs before the store knew about the water situation.

“Then everyone started coming in and filling up their carts,” she said. “People are pretty mad when they find out we have no more water.”

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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