UNITY TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — Strong gusting winds damaged property and left lots of downed trees across Westmoreland County Saturday.
This latest storm comes after the county was hit by a tornado just last month. While it didn’t pack the punch of the recent tornado, this weekend’s storm did damage lots of property and left downed trees in a number of communities.
At times, the winds were gusting well over 60 miles per hour in Westmoreland County. The fierce winds blew a section of the roof off at a 200-year-old farmhouse in Unity Township and knocked the chimney over into the garage.
“[A] big bang, I didn’t know what it was. I looked out the door and I saw the chimney laying there on the roof of the garage,” said Lois Frye, a homeowner.
Frye, 80, won’t be staying in her home tonight. Strong winds threatened to take the rest of the roof while relatives moved some of her belongings out.
Meanwhile, gusting winds sparked a fire outside Mailey’s Bakery in Latrobe. Richard Duncan, the owner of the bakery, says it started when he noticed lights flickering.
“The winds [were] blowing the power lines into the building,” Duncan said. “That scraped them all and they sparked and caught the corner of the building on fire.”
Dan Stevens, of Westmoreland County Emergency Management, was out assessing some of the damage.
“We have a Hazmat situation up in Seward because the wind came down and knocked over an oil tank, which caused a 50 gallon fuel spill,” said Stevens. “It’s Mother Nature rearing her ugly fist.”
Trees knocked down by high winds were a major problem for firefighters in the county all day. In fact, officials say they have had well over 200 calls to 911 about trees into power lines blocking roads and even into houses.
Dryridge firefighters were called to a home in Unity Township after a tree from a neighbor’s property came dangerously close to a home next door.
“It caught the gentleman’s power line going from West Penn into his house,” said Chief Rich Levay, of the Dryridge Fire Department. “We’re trying to secure the tree so it doesn’t break the rest of the line; safety first.”