Dunbar Borough suffers significant flooding overnight

| Tuesday, July 2, 2013, 8:31 a.m.

Dunbar Borough suffered significant flooding overnight.

Jerry Brame, safety officer for the Dunbar Volunteer Fire Company, said the fire company started receiving the first weather-related calls around 10:30 p.m. Monday.

In that time, firemen pumped the basements of approximately 30 homes, even pumping out basements in homes that were located on hillsides.

“In my house, we had four to five feet of water in the basement,” Brame said.

Brame said water from the Dunbar Creek overflowed its banks and roadways were covered.

Brame said the rising creek water even caused the fire company to move their trucks to higher ground because the fire department building was starting to flood.

A home was pushed off its foundation due to the rushing flood water.

According to WPXI, the Daily Courier's news partner, several people in Dunbar Borough had to be evacuated because of the flooding.

Fire officials said no injuries were reported. They also reported that the railroad tracks in the borough were closed because of a sinkhole near the tracks.

Brame said the water began to subside around 4 a.m.

“It's pretty bad,” Brame said. “I hope the residents can recover from this. It's pretty devastating. I hope all the residents can get together and help each other.”

Connellsville, Uniontown and everything in between was the target of the significant overnight rainfall and then flooding.

“Fayette seems to be the bulls eye where the rain fell,” said Joe Palko, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service out of Pittsburgh.

Palko said the areas of the county that received the maximum amount of rain was from Connellsville to Uniontown, adding that three and a half inches of rain fell in Connellsville in less than four hours.

Two rounds of rain came through the area with the first round coming in after 10 p.m. Monday and the heaviest rains coming in after midnight.

By 3 a.m. today, the heaviest rains moved out of Fayette County.

“The heaviest period was from 1 to 3 a.m. and then ended quickly,” Palko said. “Three and half inches of rain in that time is enough to cause flooding anywhere.”

Fayette County 911 reported receiving 86 flooding calls as well as a couple of trees down in Bullskin and Menallen townships.

Rob Leiberger, assistant fire chief with Connellsville Township Volunteer Fire Department, said multiple fire departments were out in their own areas or were assisting other departments with widespread flooding.

“Everybody had between 10 to 25 flooding calls,” Leiberger said, adding that a structure fire call that came in approximately 11:30 p.m. at 2089 Isabella Road Ext. didn't help matters.

Because the vacant mobile home fire was located off of a gravel road and difficult to reach even when the weather is good, Leiberger said he had to call in tankers from Flatwoods, Dawson and as far as Washington Township because other departments were tied up with flooding issues.

“It didn't kill us, but it threw a wrench into the works,” Leiberger said, adding they along with the other departments including New Haven Hose Co., South Connellsville, Dawson and East Huntingdon departed from the fire scene at 2:30 a.m.

“Everyone was out last night, everybody trying to help everybody,” Leiberger said, adding no injuries were reported and the fire will be investigated by the state police at Uniontown fire marshal. He did not have information on who owned the home.

Palko said while the Youghiogheny River rapidly rose three feet in Connellsville, there is no flooding expected on the Youghiogheny River.

According to the National Weather Service, a slight chance of showers is expected today as well as a chance of thunderstorms. The new rainfall amounts are expected to be between a tenth and quarter of an inch.

Tonight will bring another chance of showers and thunderstorms, then showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm after midnight.

Some of the storms could produce heavy rain. It's expected to be mostly cloudy with a low around 67 degrees. Those rainfall amounts are expected to be between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

Mark Hofmann is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-626-3539 or mhofmann@tribweb.com.

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