Penn American settles with Carrick homeowners displaced by water main break
The Pennsylvania American Water Co. has finished repairs to Pittsburgh streets damaged in September during a major water main break, and its insurance company has settled claims with three homeowners whose properties were condemned after the flooding, an official said.
Penn American spokesman Gary Lobaugh said the three property owners accepted “fair and equitable settlements” for their homes along East Agnew Avenue in Carrick. He said the families would be compensated for damaged property and other losses associated with the flooding.
“The company’s settlement was based on evaluations by insurance adjusters, real estate appraisers and structural engineers, who worked diligently to determine the preexisting value of the dwellings and personal property,” Lobaugh said.
Contractors will start the restoration of Becks Run, paralleling Becks Run Road, in early December, Lobaugh said. The job is expected to take about three weeks and the work will impact traffic.
A 24-inch water main on East Agnew ruptured early Sept. 20, sending a torrent of water down the hilly street and through the three houses. East Agnew and Becks Run Road also had substantial damage.
Rose Gitzen, 78, one of the displaced homeowners, described the flood as the worst thing she’s ever experienced. Pittsburgh first responders had to rescue Gitzen and her daughter, Wendy, from the house. The Gitzen’s accecpted an offer from the Birmingham Cemetery in Carrick to stay in a vacant caretaker’s quarters on the cemetery grounds until they find a permanent home.
“People don’t understand what we went through, to wake up in the middle of the night and all of a sudden there’s water coming at you,” she said. “It was like Niagara Falls just coming at you.”
She said Penn American made a fair offer for her house and contents, but declined to say how much.
“I think we should have got a lot more, but we have to take what we can get,” she said. “We’re looking for another house, but it’s not a good time with winter coming and people don’t want to move because of the holidays and winter. I guess we’ll be here for awhile.”
Her nearby neighbors, Mary and Charles Buel, also accepted an offer from the water company. Mary Buel, 78, said she and her husband have been staying with relatives since the flood and are looking for another house. She also declined to disclose the settlement amount.
“The first deal they gave us wasn’t really enough, but then they made a higher offer and we went with that,” she said.
Owners of the third house, Todd and Robin Ringeisen, could not be reached for comment.
Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-564-3080, [email protected] or via Twitter .