Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Flood Cleanup under Way Small-Business Owners Deal with Water, Mud Damage

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Flood Cleanup under Way Small-Business Owners Deal with Water, Mud Damage

Article excerpt

As the cleanup began Thursday, business owners in Oakdale recalled a time nine years ago when storms were a lot worse and the water was a lot higher.

It wasn't Hurricane Ivan, to be sure, but the flooding Wednesday brought several feet of water, and for small-business owners in the borough and elsewhere in the region, real hardships.

"I had second thoughts about getting up today," said Alex Kramer, co-owner of Alex Kramer & Sons Insurance, Oakdale Travel Center and Oakdale Kids' Korner day care. "We may seem like we're OK, but it is bad."

Mr. Kramer, family and friends swept and piled and shoveled out mud Thursday afternoon, preparing for weeks of work to get the place back together. They stepped gingerly on the slick tile. Carpets soaked with water and mud gurgled when walked on.

They and others in the area were in remarkably good spirits, despite the work that lay ahead.

In the plaza across the street, Tom Burke, owner of Pepperoncini's Pizza and Wings, sat on a bar stool and surveyed the damage.

He said he hopes to reopen in a month, but it may take longer. In 2004, he had to get a loan to rebuild. This time, mud was caked on table bases and climbed up bar stools. Fortunately, he likely can salvage the seat cushions.

"There will be a lot of work," Mr. Burke said.

He and some friends who showed up to help were enjoying a beer as the sun beat down.

And that's where the good news comes in: The National Weather Service's long-range forecast includes sunny skies and high temperatures in the 80s through Tuesday, promising the waterlogged region some time to dry out.

Still, 12 county municipalities declared disaster emergencies Wednesday: Castle Shannon, Elizabeth Borough, Findlay, Jefferson Hills, Lincoln, North Fayette, Oakdale, Scott, South Fayette, Upper St. Clair, West Elizabeth and Whitehall.

In North Fayette, crews Wednesday worked to help people pump water out of their basements and some were dispatched to aid Oakdale and McDonald. …

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