Flood cleanup continues in South Connellsville
By Mark Hofmann
Published: Friday, July 5, 2013, 5:00 p.m.
The impact of the rains that hammered the area this week are still being felt in South Connellsville, a borough that found its firefighters busy with pumpings, physical rescues and assistance.
The two rounds of storms that hit late Monday night and Tuesday morning brought nearly 4 inches of rain in a four-hour time span from Connellsville to Uniontown, resulting in flooded streets and basements.
During those rains, the South Connellsville Volunteer Fire Department responded to more than 70 flooded homes.
Borough workers and residents alike are still cleaning up from this week's flooding.
Flash flooding occurs in many cases when the grounds get saturated from previous rains and a sudden downpour causes the rain not to soak into the ground. Also, sudden downpours can cause creeks to overflow.
A flooded creek in the borough caused the worst of the flooding along Hyndman Street and McCormick Avenue.
“It devastated the whole area,” said South Connellsville Fire Chief Steve Helms. Helms said 22 firefighters from his department responded to incidents from 10 p.m. Monday to 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Helms said many of the basements in the 1600 block of Hyndman Street experienced nearly seven feet of flood waters, with some residents having the water rise to the first floor in their homes.
“We had to open a manhole and pump the water out of that,” Helms said. Firefighters had to pump the water out for seven and a half hours, which caused the fuel in their tanker to go empty.
Helms said the total cost of fuel used was more than $300. The department utilized eight pumps and the fire-engine pump. Helms and another firefighter took the chiefs' personal vehicle to some calls.
One call involved two adults and two children trapped in a car in four feet of water. They were trying to drive through a heavily-flooded area.
Helms said firemen received the call from police.
He said firemen arrived and pulled the occupants out of the vehicle through the windows and then drove them to safety.
“I've never seen anything like that before,” Helms said of the conditions.
To make matters worse, a call to assist Connellsville Township with a structure fire came in during the flooding calls.
Helm decided to send two trucks to assist Connellsville Township while the rest of the fire department officials stayed in the borough; he also dispatched Dawson VFD to assist borough residents.
No injuries were reported in the flooding incidents or the structure fire.
While the fire department used what it learned in its river-rescue training, Helms said he received the best incident command training during the flooding. He said if the rains would come the same way again, he knows what areas of the borough will be hit the hardest.
The borough and its residents are still cleaning up. Helms said cleanup could continue for several more days.
Fayette County residents that sustained damages caused by the recent flooding (beyond basement flooding) who have not met with or spoken to Emergency Management Officials are asked to contact Fayette County EMA 724-430-1277.
The agency with PEMA and local emergency coordinators have been conducting damage assessment throughout the area and will continue to do so as needed.
South Connellsville Mayor Pete Casini declared a state of emergency in the borough on Tuesday.
“In all the years I've been here, this is the worst I've ever seen,” Casini said.
“It looked like a river coming down McCormick Avenue.”
“Many homes had water in their basements, and they lost everything,” Casini said.
“I had one lady tell me she lost $25,000 worth of stuff.”
Mark Hofmann is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-626-3539 or email@example.com.
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.
- Texas company offers investment in millions to upgrade Everson plant
- Election board rejects ballot referendum on Fayette County prison issues
- Lemont woman accused of stealing purses, using credit cards
- West Leisenring band’s EP release party to benefit firefighters
- Geibel alumnus Sammy Brooks to perform jazz during tuition fundraiser on Saturday
- Connellsville Community Yard Sale set May 3; enrollment deadline is April 28
- Recording studio joins Connellsville community center’s growing artist enclave
- Planning underway for Connellsville Christmas event
- Closure of West Side News shocks previous owners
- Masontown girl pulls off heroic task at state farm show
- CAHS Patriots’ annual auction set for May 8