Share This Page

Sutersville dries out from flood

| Friday, May 30, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review
A crew from Casoni's Garage uses a tractor to pull a car from high water as a result of flash flooding at Superior Motors used car lot on First Street in Sutersville on May 29, 2014.
Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review
The Sutersville basement bedroom of Katy Todaro was destroyed as result of a flash flood. The water was approximately 3 feet high before it receded.
Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review
Katy Todaro attempts to salvage personal belongings that were damaged as a result of flash flood in Sutersville on May 29, 2014. Todaro, who lives with her parents, was at work when the flooding occurred.

John Rack spent Thursday trying to scoop up the sticky mud that flood waters left behind Thursday at his Sutersville used car business.

“It never did this in my 16 years of working here,” said Rack, whose Superior Motors lot was left submerged in about 2 12 feet of water when Little Sewickley Creek overflowed its banks during a storm on Wednesday.

Rack said he lost about 21 vehicles in the flood.

Businesses between Sutersville and Lowber remained closed for cleanup as residents tried to salvage furniture and personal items from the water and muck.

Jim and Jess Huston have lived next door to Superior Motors for five years in a home Jess' grandfather built 60 years ago.

“This never happened here before,” Jess Huston said.

The Hustons' basement flooded, destroying carpeting and their three children's toys.

The flood caused a gas leak, which nearly forced the Hustons to evacuate, like the two other families who live along Rear First Street. Fortunately, Columbia Gas quickly repaired the problem, Jim Huston said.

The American Red Cross brought the family brooms, bleach and other cleaning supplies to deal with the mess, he said.

“We're providing temporary shelter for those two (displaced) families,” said Kevin Brown, spokesman for the Westmoreland-Armstrong Chapter of the American Red Cross. “(Damage at) the other homes, most of them along First Street, was not serious enough to dislodge the residents, but we are providing them with some cleanup kits.”

Among them were Sherry McLay and her family. Water flooded the basement, destroying her daughter's bedroom.

“Water just kept coming in,” McLay said. “It was a freak of nature. The way it came, I was just scared.”

McLay said friends helped with the cleanup, but it will take weeks of work to get her home back to normal.

The Hustons have already turned their concerns to the next storm because of chronic backups, they said.

“I hope they clean out the rocks blocking up the creek,” Jess Huston said.

Paul Rupnik Jr., Sewickley Township emergency management agency director, said stormwater running off hillsides was a bigger problem than the creek overflowing.

Down the road, other homes and businesses experienced stormwater backups. Though it was the first time in memory that the area was flooded by the creek, stormwater issues aren't rare, some said.

Anthony Casoni, who owns Casoni's Garage, said this was the third time his garage has been flooded by stormwater. He had to close his business to clean up.

“Something needs to be done,” Casoni said. “It's not like this is the first time. This shouldn't happen.”

Despite his frustration, Casoni offered a hand at Rack's garage before cleaning his own.

“I have my own mess to clean up, but there's a bigger one here,” he said, gesturing toward Superior Motors.

Alicia McElhaney is an intern for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-6220 or amcelhaney@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.