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Leechburg man known for popular home light display endures 'series of unfortunate events'

| Wednesday, April 27, 2016, 11:00 p.m.
Clyde Lindsey stands outside his home along Main Street in Leechburg on Saturday, April 23, 2016. His home, known for its Christmas light display, has had recent setbacks from sewer issues and an electrical fire.
Jason Bridge | Tribune-Review
Clyde Lindsey stands outside his home along Main Street in Leechburg on Saturday, April 23, 2016. His home, known for its Christmas light display, has had recent setbacks from sewer issues and an electrical fire.
Clyde Lindsey stands outside his home along Main Street in Leechburg on Saturday, April 23, 2016, as he talks about his efforts to restore the home and his holiday lights display.
Jason Bridge | Tribune-Review
Clyde Lindsey stands outside his home along Main Street in Leechburg on Saturday, April 23, 2016, as he talks about his efforts to restore the home and his holiday lights display.
Clyde Lindsey works in a fire-damaged room of his  Main Street home in Leechburg on Saturday, April 23, 2016.
Jason Bridge | Tribune-Review
Clyde Lindsey works in a fire-damaged room of his Main Street home in Leechburg on Saturday, April 23, 2016.
Clyde Lindsey works in a fire-damaged room in his home along Main Street in Leechburg on Saturday, April 23, 2016.
Jason Bridge | Tribune-Review
Clyde Lindsey works in a fire-damaged room in his home along Main Street in Leechburg on Saturday, April 23, 2016.
Clyde Lindsey's Leechburg home, known for the Christmas light display, has had recent se backs from sewer issues and an electrical fire.
Jason Bridge | Tribune-Review
Clyde Lindsey's Leechburg home, known for the Christmas light display, has had recent se backs from sewer issues and an electrical fire.

The holiday lights that adorn Clyde Lindsey's historic home on Main Street in Leechburg have gone dark.

Leechburg Lights, the popular synchronized light display that Lindsey began in 2008, has encountered a “series of unfortunate events,” said Lindsey, 41. “My life is like someone pushed the stop button.”

Every moment of his life revolves around either working full-time as assistant manager at King's Family Restaurant in Kittanning, or remodeling his home with the immediate goal of getting his tenants back in the house. They currently are residing with relatives.

In February — on Super Bowl Sunday, no less — an electrical fire caused by a faulty incoming power line sparked a fire that extensively damaged the more than 100-year-old home. That was compounded by a sewer line backup into the home.

The events forced the emergency evacuation of the family renting the first floor of the home and left Lindsey residing in the fire damaged, barely livable upstairs floor.

The fire caused damage throughout the home, and each repair seemed to unearth another needed repair.

The insurance reimbursement check wasn't nearly enough to cover remodeling expenses, and Lindsey has spent his life savings — $26,000 — on repairing his home.

It still isn't enough.

“I have never looked for a handout and never asked for one,” Lindsey said from his front porch, piled high with building supplies.

Lindsey is a self-described “lighter,” a person with the hobby of building, programming and designing holiday light displays.

He always has been crazy for Christmas lights and has garnered a reputation in Leechburg for his annual Leechburg Lights display, featuring more than 10,000 LED lights synchronized to traditional holiday music.

But the lights aren't Lindsey's top priority.

“They need to come home, my tenants,” Lindsey said. “I don't have the money to remodel my floor, but I am mentally and physically safe. I am more worried about the (Domiano family's) three kids.”

Support has appeared in the form of a GoFundMe page created by a fellow lighting enthusiast, Andy Harrison, and has collected more than $4,900 from 97 donations in one month.

Harrison, of Clinton, Tenn., describes Lindsey on the GoFundMe page as “one of the most selfless members in our (lighter) community.”

Lindsey has produced more than 120 tutorial videos on building holiday light displays, with more than 1,400 YouTube subscribers.

Recently, Lindsey secured a personal loan to pay his contractor. It's his last ditch effort as all funds are depleted.

Leechburg mayor Shawn Lerch is hopeful Leechburg Lights will return for this year's holiday season.

“I consider what that gentleman (Clyde) does as an asset to our community and it brings a lot of folks into town,” Lerch said. “The feedback is everyone looks forward to the lights.”

Lindsey is also hopeful and looking forward to better days. He is apologetic to Leechburg residents, expressing his disappointment that he was unable to take down his holiday light display because of the fire.

His Rudolph display lays sideways atop the roof along with all of the other decorations that have had to wait until Lindsey has time to devote to his lighting pursuits.

“Your continued prayers and support means the world to me,” Lindsey said of his display's fans.

Joyce Hanz is a freelance writer.

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