WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP (KDKA) – Homeowners in Fayette County have found themselves in an unenviable position after their homes were damaged by possible mine subsidence.
Some of those homes were so badly damaged, the occupants were forced to evacuate.
“The lady across the street came out to get her mail, which comes between 2 and 3:00, and couldn’t get her door open,” explained Washington Township Emergency Management Coordinator, Kelly Parshall.
That was one of a few homes with a serious foundation shift. Mine subsidence is believed to be the cause of the shifts along and around Smithfield Street in Washington Township.
“We counted 11 structures right now, that have been affected by this, three of them severely, two of them you can’t occupy at this time,” Parshall said. “If you look at these two structures on this side of the street, from 100 yards away, you can see the tilt.”
One of the residents of the neighborhood, Dave Fisher, is the owner of one of the homes that have been declared uninhabitable.
“When I left for work, it was perfect,” he said. “I got cracks, you can see the separation in the basement from the foundation to the cement. There’s a 2-3 inch separation down there.”
There are also cracks in the road that were not there just a day prior, believed to be part of the mine subsidence issue.
However, it’s what residents can’t see that is really a concern.
Underneath the cracked street are utility lines and they’re all being compromised.
“Nobody has water in about a two or three square block area because we’ve had multiple water breaks,” said Parshall. “We are aware of the possibility of sewage issues right now.”
Some of these homeowners have neither home insurance or mine subsidence insurance.
“They’ve lost everything, total mess,” Parshall added.
If there’s one thing that cannot be guaranteed, it’s that the problem might not just stop in this neighborhood.
There were thousands of mines in and around this area that could continue to collapse and nobody knows whether this will stop any time soon or not.