Swamped in a Flash; as the Nearby Creek Rose to Engulf Their Home, Pool, Shed and Vehicles Sunday Night, Mark and Patty Striner Sat in Pouring Rain atop Their House on Breakneck Road in Northern Fayette County, Wondering Whether They Would Survive. [Derived Headline]

By Renatta Signorini; paul peirce | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, August 29, 2016 | Go to article overview

Swamped in a Flash; as the Nearby Creek Rose to Engulf Their Home, Pool, Shed and Vehicles Sunday Night, Mark and Patty Striner Sat in Pouring Rain atop Their House on Breakneck Road in Northern Fayette County, Wondering Whether They Would Survive. [Derived Headline]


Renatta Signorini; paul peirce, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


As the nearby creek rose to engulf their home, pool, shed and vehicles Sunday night, Mark and Patty Striner sat in pouring rain atop their house on Breakneck Road in northern Fayette County, wondering whether they would survive.

"I thought I was going to die. I thought I was going to drown," said Patty Striner. "... It looked like an ocean coming up."

Strong thunderstorms Sunday blasted parts of Western Pennsylvania, triggering heavy flash flooding that stranded people in some areas, destroying homes and roads and leaving weeks or months of cleanup ahead. No injuries were reported.

One area just northeast of Connellsville saw 5.12 inches of rain during a seven-hour span, according to the National Weather Service.

As the creek rose, the Striners grabbed flashlights and a metal ladder and headed for the roof.

After two hours, the water receded enough that the pair was able to get to a relative's home. On Monday morning, they returned to find their home ruined.

The force of the water cut away at their backyard, mangled their deck and ripped away a concrete support beam for an addition they constructed this year.

"I was going to cut the grass (yesterday)," Mark Striner said. "Good thing I didn't do that."

Swift-water rescue teams Sunday were called to Route 119 in Bullskin, Fayette County, where multiple vehicles were stranded in high water, trapping people inside, and about 100 firefighters pulled dozens of people from their homes and cars, said Bullskin fire Chief Joe Liska.

"There was a good 4 or 5 feet of water on Route 119 last night," Liska said. "There was at least 30 cars stuck."

Kyle Quinn, the Bullskin emergency management coordinator, said it will take "weeks if not months" to undo the damage. Residents started Monday; rocks littered yards, and branches were strewn across Breakneck Road.

Torrential rains that flooded streets and highways in the area around Connellsville, a city of about 7,600, caused Mayor Greg Lincoln to declare a state of emergency. Connellsville City Council imposed a curfew on city streets from 7 p.m. Monday to 7:30 a.m. Tuesday for the public's safety and to prevent looting. Schools were closed or delayed.

Lincoln posted a message Sunday evening on Facebook urging residents in the flooded area to climb to the highest point in their homes.

"As soon as rescue boats arrive we will be coming to get residents out of danger," he wrote. …

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Swamped in a Flash; as the Nearby Creek Rose to Engulf Their Home, Pool, Shed and Vehicles Sunday Night, Mark and Patty Striner Sat in Pouring Rain atop Their House on Breakneck Road in Northern Fayette County, Wondering Whether They Would Survive. [Derived Headline]
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