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CREIGHTON, Pa. (KDKA) — As the snow was pounding down on Saturday morning, the rains of the previous day were rushing to the Allegheny River and dislodging ice.
The ice started moving until it got to the bend at Cheswick where it jammed.
“It was an ice jam that caused the river to back up, forced the water up these streams and overflowed,” says East Deer Township Commission Chairman Anthony Taliani Jr.
It was 7:30 in the morning and Bill Stuckley Jr. was just leaving home to go hunting when he saw Bailey Run come rushing out of its banks.
“The creek was running up our street from the river and it was pouring in our door,” he says.
In no time, the Stuckley’s basement door was completely submerged. Bill Stuckley Sr. couldn’t believe what he was seeing.
“Steadily it got faster and faster and higher and higher,” he said.
Bill Jr. says it keep rising until it was about “four feet! About four feet of water!” His dad adding, “Everything we had in the basement is gone, it’s all ruined.”
A friend was able to get the Stuckley’s furnace working. Bill’s sister, Donna, who lives next door, was not so fortunate.
“She’s retired, not a very high income, and she lost her washer, her dryer, her hot water tank, her furnace. She has no heat in there right now,” Taliani says.
The Stuckley’s are just an example of a flash disaster that hit four streets in Creighton along Bailey Run and Crawford Run. House to house, the losses are similar.
Bill Stumpler has been helping his cousin whose basement was also swamped. She lost a washer, a dryer and a freezer to flooding. Stumpler says he was able to get the furnace working but wonders how long it will last.
Donna Stuckley is warily keeping her eye on her only source of heat, a few space heaters. She has one in the basement to keep the pipes from freezing overnight, and another upstairs to warm the room where she, her grandchildren, and the dogs will sleep tonight.
Her friends and relatives have turned out to help get everything that has been ruined out of the basement and dry it out. But they worry about the lack of heat so they’ve set up a GoFundMe account to replace her furnace and appliances: gofundme.com/bill-donna-stuckley-flood-victims
“We’re trying to help anybody who has those needs,” Taliani says.
East Deer Township is trying to total up the losses in hopes of getting a disaster declaration, which would bring financial help from the government. He’s concerned the damage won’t be wide spread enough to qualify.
“It’s very frustrating that there’s not a little bit of aid available for people that have worked their entire life, paid off their mortgage and then a disaster like this effects them, and it seems like there’s no help for them,” Taliani says. “I’m still hopeful that something will come through to help some of these people.”