HOUSTON (KDKA) – Widespread flooding in Washington and Westmoreland counties is being blamed on a line of storms that moved through the area Thursday night.
According to emergency dispatchers, an estimated 500 flooding calls were received in 12 hours.
As the rain continued to fall overnight, flooding concerns grew. A rising Chartiers Creek sent water into the basements of many homes, which damaged valuables.
“Bar, pool table, hockey table, bar tables…and everything’s gone. It went like that and filled up probably in less than an hour,” one man said. “The furnace was only like six, seven years old, the hot water tank was new, they’re done. Washer, dryer, they’re done, everything.”
Some say Main Street in Houston Borough is prone to flooding and the problem is only getting worse.
“It’s gotten worse over the years,” Bill Richards said. “They keep building over us and we just get all of the runoff down here.”
“Houston always gets it every time it floods, they get it the worst up there,” Leonard Bennett said.
On Route 40 in Washington, some drivers chose to ignore cones and barricades blocking the closed road, instead driving through the water.
The floodwaters may soon recede, but the damage has already been done.
At the peak of the flooding, more than 30 roads were closed in the county. Part of Route 40 was still closed Friday morning.
One man said the flooding is as bad as when Hurricane Ivan came through in 2004.
The City of Washington Fire Department asked people to avoid the areas of Wylie and Jefferson Avenues, S. Main and Park Avenues, as well as West Maiden Street and W. Wheeling at Washington Streets due to flooding.
There were also multiple flooding reports in Charleroi, Speers and other nearby areas. Officials warned residents to avoid those areas.
KDKA’s Bob Allen Reports:
Over in Westmoreland County, Rostraver was one of the hardest hit areas. Firefighters had to rescue several people, including children, from rising waters.
One rescue was caught on cellphone video, a firefighter carrying one of Crystal Williams’ children to safety.
A nearby creek spilled over its bank during Thursday night’s storms, and invaded Williams’ home on Elks Place. She called 911 when water started coming in under her door, into her kitchen and living room.
“Within 20 minutes, it was already a foot high in here. And I called them, and I said, ‘Listen, my car is already underwater. You told us to stay put.’ I said, ‘I’ve got three children in this house, two adults,’” said Crystal.
As the water rushed in, Crystal said she felt a shock by an electrical current, and that’s when she knew it was time to get out.
Anything on the floor of her home was destroyed.
“We just got a new stove, we just got a new washer and dryer, it’s all shot,” she said. “But we’re all safe.”
Carter Williams says trying to escape the rising waters was difficult.
“Leaving was really bad because, number one, the water was rushing past you real fast, it’s almost about to knock you over, and it was super cold,” said Carter. “Within probably just a couple of seconds my legs were on fire ‘cause it was hurting so bad.”