WILMERDING (KDKA) – Dozens of people who were forced from their apartment building because of a water main break were allowed to return to their homes Wednesday morning.

The fire marshal was at the building on Commerce Street in Wilmerding to oversee the process.

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Those displaced – including eight children – had been staying at a Red Cross shelter at the Pitcairn Fire Hall while the break was repaired.

The pipe burst sometime early Sunday morning and the water damaged the electrical system in the entire building.

Before the move-in could begin, there was plenty that had to be thrown out after the water pipe burst. All 25 units in the building had to be evacuated as a result.

Kaleak Marshall and his 2-year-old daughter Abrianna were among the displaced. The kids stayed with relatives while the adults were housed by the Red Cross.

“We just stayed in the shelter,” said Marshall. “Just grateful to get back and be home. She wanted to get home. She didn’t want to be there.”

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Nancy Kerzesky’s apartment wasn’t directly affected by the water, but had to evacuate anyway because of the electrical issues.

“Everybody had to go cause there was no lights. They tested structural damage and everything,” said Kerzesky.

Even neighbors from the nearby senior citizens home helped. Loleta Powell had a vested interest. She helped her grandchildren during the displacement.

“I’m the grandmother, all right. These gray hairs, they mean something,” she said.

Al Hussey, the North Versailles Fire Marshal in charge of the Wilmerding case, said the Allegheny County Health Department approved the return of residents.

“The registered plumbers had to do their inspection; they did that and that’s okay,” said Hussey. “Electrical inspectors had to do that, the people who are professionals at that, had to do their inspection, and they all gave it a passing grade.”

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